Today is apparently International Men’s Day. I don’t know who decided that it should be today, but it is. I assume this is to celebrate our privileged position in society, and give thanks to the generations of men that came before us who ensured, mostly successfully, that women never rise to any position of real power. I’m not sure what we men should be up to on a day like today; I intend to celebrate by throwing raisins and assorted small legumes at passing women in order to remind them of their woe.
Yes, yes. I’m joking. I’m joking, women. Come back. By some absurd co-incidence, I intended to talk about the greatest threat to this state of affairs, actually. I have a question for all of you, man and woman alike. Are you a feminist?
“Of course not, Beef,” you might conceivably reply. “Have you lost your fucking shit?” you might then add.
Well, such a response would be understandable. Let’s do a little test. Go on. Do the test. It takes about ten seconds. I’ll wait. But you better come back. You’d better. Motherfucker.
Back, are you? Thank you.
Now, everyone reading this would probably agree that equal rights for women is a desirable thing. If you don’t, then stop reading now because nothing I’m going to say is going to be able to convince you. If you do, then by the above definition, pretty much everyone is a feminist. Why, then, does no-one identify themselves as feminist?
Well, I’ve got a fair idea. It’s because feminists are annoying as shit. Anyone with an axe to grind is annoying. Islamists are annoying. Nutritionists are annoying. Every situation where you’re talking to a complete stranger and you realise that they’re a feminist, almost by definition they’re complaining. If they said ‘everything is fine!’ then it wouldn’t’ even cross your mind that you’re talking to a feminist.
So feminism, frankly, has a PR problem. But what is feminism? Let’s consult Wikipedia.
Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.
A collection of movements, eh? Yes – quite a broad range of people describe themselves as feminist, and a lot of them have radically different (and indeed contradictory) ideas about what feminism is. This term is so broad as to dilute all meaning. It means whatever the person using it thinks it means. No wonder it’s so widely reviled. Anyway, I can’t possibly hope to address all of it without droning on forever. Let’s just look at a few prominent examples of feminism.
I’m sure you’re aware of Malala. I’m not sure whether or not Malala describes herself as a feminist, but she certainly fits our definition of what a feminist should be: Assholes told her that she couldn’t go to school, but she then went to school anyway; the assholes made it clear that further attempts to go to school would result in death, Malala went to school anyway; the assholes shot Malala, but Malala didn’t die. She rather got better and restated her ambition to go to school.
Blah blah blah. You already know this shit. This is like the origin story for some sort of messianic supernerd, and as with most superheros we’d all do very well to emulate her in word and deed. In fact, stating this is probably a good strategy for any parent. Every time your kid complains about maths homework or something, you can just tut and say, “why can’t you be more like Malala?” Guaranteed to piss them right off.
Let’s go a bit closer to home. In England, women are much better treated than they are in Pakistan. They can go to school. Getting shot at isn’t an everyday occurrence. Hooray! But hold on – we’ve still got a long way to go, it seems. Have you lot ever heard of the Everyday Sexism project? It’s a thing where women submit their experiences of sexism they’ve had to endure while going about their womanly business.
I have only one real problem with the Everyday Sexism Project. Half of the contributions to this thing do not constitute ‘sexism’, but rather sexual harassment, if not sexual assault. The project should be called ‘Everyday Sexual Assault’.
“I was on the train when a man rubbed his cock against me, and I definitely didn’t ask him to.”
“I was out jogging and a man asked if he could rub his cock against me, and I definitely would rather he hadn’t.”
That sort of thing. A lot of these statements are appended with qualifiers like “I’m twelve!!!” I find it all pretty hard to believe, but the practice must be commonplace, since the project is not called ‘The Occasional Sexism Project’.
Since my experience of this phenemona is negligible, I can only conclude that this sort of thing mostly happens to women. No one has ever jizzed on my hair while I’m waiting in line at Subway. No one’s ever even sought permission to do so. I’ve never had a conversation with my macho manly friends in which we exchange complaints about the unsolicited approaches of foul harridans, so it must be that this problem is restricted to creepy men. In any case, it’s clear we have an epidemic of twattery on our hands, and womankind must suffer its knuckleheaded brunt. Woe unto them!
I think the culprit is a decline in manners, personally. (Or an increase in dickishness – though both things are roughly equivalent; you can’t be a well-mannered cockface.) Or maybe manners have always been shit and we are only just now discovering the extent of human fuckwittery. Good job, Team Man. Now we all look like dicks.
If all of mankind were a football team, I’d go out of my way to ensure that this sort of bloke was benched, ostracised during training and sent on loan to Crewe Alexandra at the earliest possible opportunity. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As things stand, I feel the solution lies a greater level of chivalrous behaviour. Saying things like ‘thank you,’ ‘you’re most welcome,’ ‘after you, love’; while refraining from saying things like ‘awheeheeyyyyyyyyyyyyyy’, ‘eeeyyyyy’ or ‘get your fanny out you dirty slaaaaaaaaaaaaag’.
Of course, they’ll be another branch of feminism that holds that chivalry is a condescending vestigial paradigm of a patriarchal power-structure of paridgmatationy paradigm and should be abolished immediately. But I’m choosing to ignore those people – sorry girls.
Allow me a brief digression, here. Have you ever come across one of those t-shirts with the scantily clad young woman on the front? She’s usually half-dressed, the top half her head occluded, her teeth clamped over her bottom lip as though she’s struggling to remember how to make jam on toast.
Who wears these t shirts? Men. Why do they do this? The whole point of these images is to titillate, is it not? To excite the sorts of people who are interested in images of half-dressed attractive women. I can think of two such demographics that meet this criterion.
Why the fuck would a man wear a t-shirt whose purpose (intended or not) is to arouse men? This is problematic, guys. Why are you trying to inspire boners? Have you ever seen a woman walk around with a picture of a sweaty naked buff-bodied man on the front? What the fuck is wrong with you, men who wear this shit? Desist at once.
This, I’m told, is a symptom of something called ‘Rape Culture’. Which is, as I understand it, an environment where rape is tacitly encouraged. According to this hypothesis, this sort of thing erodes the empathy centre of the brain; like war propaganda posters used to do.
And so there exists another branch of feminism, which seeks to control this sort of thing. I’ve discussed them before. These are the women who disapprove of other women taking their clothes off for financial recompense, because doing so is a manifestation of Rape Culture. Unless, of course, it’s Art. I suppose, as normally happens when something gets banned, the people doing the banning will decide what’s Art and what’s Not Art.
God help us if this ever happens. Or, more accurately, God help me. I can already visualise hordes of irate men waving a copy of the first tit-free Sun in my face, demanding to know how such a situation could have arisen. “Curse you feminists!” they will inevitably bawl, shaking an angry fist at the sky.
Even more terrible PR for feminism. I think this daily dose of improbably proportioned mammary glands is the thin line between us and societal collapse. Don’t take the tits away! Actually, we probably shouldn’t worry. The men who enjoy page 3 are probably already well aware that this Judgement Day is fast approaching. Their preparations are well underway. They’ve already amassed a large collection of page three cuttings, so that they can study them while huddled around the oil-drum fire, under a bridge in the post-feminist apocalyptic wasteland.
The idea beneath this sort of thing is that the naked form of a woman contributes to men to losing their shit and raping everything in sight. Don’t show that shit off, and you’ll protect all women. I suppose they’re robbed this idea from other feminist institutions, like the Taliban.
We are repeatedly assured that women in the media are too sexualised. It’s hard to disagree. Just look at this fucking NSFW Rhihanna video. That’s the latest example. Naked flesh is paraded back and forth; arses are jiggling left and right. The expectations of small impressionable boys are being warped beyond all feasibility, and small impressionable girls are under more pressure than ever to meet those expectations.
Sexualised – I’m not sure that’s the right word, really. The principle sex organ – i.e. the woman’s brain – has been moved so far from view that you could be forgiven for forgetting that it even exists. Is this considered sexy now?
Is it possible to have sex with a woman with no brain? There’s a philosophical conundrum for you all to ponder. Am I alone in thinking sex should involve some concern for what’s going on in the brain of the other party? I’ve always thought of it as more of a collaborative experience. The idea that it’s not seems deeply weird, to me. Psychopathic – almost rapey, actually.
Maybe what’s being promoted is sex, but it’s a certain sort of sex. Miserable, crap sex. You can all surely dissaprove of that.
Anyway – fuck! This topic just went on and on and on and on. I haven’t even touched on glass ceilings, wage disparity, reproductive rights or honour violence. No wonder feminists are so annoying; they have a neverending stream of stuff to be annoyed about.
I’ve rambled sufficiently for this week, anyway. Maybe I’ll revisit this topic next week, but don’t bet on it because it’s given me a headache.
Have a good one, biatches.