‘Bitch Magazine’ loyalists, hold onto your hats! We are here to talk about feminism. It is the one word and perhaps movement that has seen rapid growth in the last two years and doesn’t seem like stopping. Arguments about rape culture, misogyny and oppression are making the rounds and it seems that the loudest voice is that of the women. Perhaps not blaming men but blaming modern society and a minority culture which still chooses to chastise their position in our social infrastructure.
Two weeks ago, a twenty four year old went on a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara. He was a woman hater: he devoted a blog to how much he despised females and wanted to “slaughter” them for subjecting him to rejection. He was a member of online clubs of male supremacists who shared his views. This alone sparked outrage. Feminist blogger Melissa McEwan tweeted that “Dismissing violent misogynists as ‘crazy’ is a neat way of saying that violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one…”
Before you jump to conclusions and close your browser, you must know that I am not going to argue the side of anyone who joins or creates a ‘club’ based on hatred and generalization. I simply want to take a look at the bigger picture and perhaps the other side of the spectrum.
If you Google ‘Feminist Blog’, there are thousands of results that crop up from women all over the world who are fighting for women’s rights in the context of gender equality. Feminists want equality: that is all. As a general rule (there are of course some exceptions), feminists do not want to be bigger, better and totally independent of men, they just want to be equal. I can’t help but wonder if they were granted true quality, would this still be what they so desired or expected?
One example we can draw from here is ‘The Bachelorette’, which screens on Monday nights on ABC if you feel so inclined to tune in. The premise is simple and is modeled off the more commonly viewed ‘The Bachelor’. The selected Bachelorette – which for clarity purposes is 27 year old Andi Dorfman this year – dates 25 men simultaneously, each week eliminating fewer and fewer until she is left with what we can assume to be her ‘one true love’. Each week there are two individual dates and one group date. Last week we saw an interesting group date, in which we saw the men instructed that their date would consist of doing a strip tease in order to impress their Bachelorette. All the men participated, some perhaps unwillingly, and a Magic Mike-esque night of debauchery ensued.
Now, let us take a step back here and think of this task in terms of the plight for gender equality. While there were countless women screaming and shoving money into the men’s pockets (it was all for charity, so you know…) we have to think back to last season of The Bachelor, in which Juan Pablo Galvais was hailed as a misogynist and ‘the worst Bachelor ever’. He was criticized for taking a girl on a date to a rave (which she actually enjoyed at the time) as this was deemed “inappropriate”. I suppose he was expected to wine and dine her instead. Can you imagine if one of the group dates had been a strip tease? There would be uproar. Women everywhere would be crying inequality and misogyny.
But where were these feminists and lovers of gender equality when this ‘Bachelorette’ episode aired? Probably loving it.
Further to this, last week we saw ‘boss bitch’ pop star and cultural icon Rihanna arrive at the CDFA Fashion Awards dressed like THIS. And this is not the first time she has worn something so, shall we say, ‘revealing’. Some more examples are THIS dress (seen again HERE), or THIS one. Rose McGowan has been an offender of the see through outfit from time to time too, which you can see HERE. And should we even get started on MILEY CYRUS?
These women are all hailed as powerful and independent: women who are not afraid to dress for themselves and not men: women who are not ‘perpetuating rape culture’, but who are choosing how to represent themselves and their bodies (and deciding to do so in a very thought provoking manner).
Yes, we have to hail these women for their courage, but can you imagine what would happen if a man tried to do the same? What would happen or be said if a man decided to walk the red carpet in a speedo or a thong? Or, (and this may be a bit of a stretch for arguments sake), what if a man walked into the MET Gala wearing a see through suit which ‘left nothing to the imagination’? Try arguing anything other than the fact that this man would be labeled ‘perverted’ or maybe even ‘mentally ill’ and be asked to leave. Is this the equality you are searching for?
Historically on three occasions, the USA has conscripted men to go to war. Never has a woman been conscripted or forced to fight in a war against her will. In 1981 in the US, several men filed a lawsuit stating that the Selective Service Act was against the Fifth Amendment, by forcing only men to register. The Supreme Court upheld the act and in doing so stated “the argument for registering women was based on considerations of equity, but Congress was entitled, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, to focus on the question of military need, rather than ‘equity’. So, in laymans terms, the US believed that men were of higher military value. In 2002, Sweden considered including women in their conscription on the grounds that excluding them went against their ideology of ‘equality’. Sweden, here, appears to be getting closer. But what am I getting at?
If feminists really want ‘gender equality’, they are going to have to accept that in many facets and situations. They cannot scream at a man walking naked down the street when a woman next to him is doing the same. They cannot throw up their hands in protest when 100 women for every 100 men are conscripted into war. And, if we really want gender equality, perhaps more women should be prepared to do strip teases or build railroads.
Anatomically, we cannot claim that women are no different than men: this is obvious. But perhaps if we are going to ever stop this ‘gender war’ we need to stop seeing it as that. The more we distinguish between men and women and create lines that shouldn’t be crossed by either sex, the more tension we are building. If you really want gender equality, you should not be seeing ‘men’ and ‘women’. You should see people.
I am not a feminist because I refuse to see gender. I do not believe in the equality of women any more than I do in the equality of men . Both sexes are as guilty as one another for creating pedestals and guidelines for living in our society based on what anatomy has given us.
And I’m calling baloney on the whole thing.