The Vixen Thinks: A Love/Hate Relationship With Feminism (Part 2)


The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: theglittervixen(at)gmail(dot)com! Thank you!

So today I'm finally getting round to writing the second part of my Love/Hate Relationship with Feminism Vixen Thinks series, you can read part one here and I've decided there will be three parts to this particular Vixen Thinks series in all. To summarise my last post on the topic, I stated that although I identify as a feminist and always will do, I have some issues with the way modern feminism is going. The main issue is "Tumblr Activism" which I feel is completely alienating and counterproductive to the feminist movement and many other movements which aspire to equality in some way.

Today, I want to talk about something that's a little closer to home. In England particularly, women have come a very long way. We're allowed to vote, we have careers, we can wear what we want and so on. Perhaps more importantly, we have access to things like abortion and contraception. Obviously there are still discrepancies between the genders and these need to be focused on, but I think in many ways, we're focusing on completely the wrong issues and it's this that makes modern feminists a bit of a laughing stock. For example, I think rape culture is one of the biggest problems this country faces and I admire people who speak out against this and try and educate people in an effort to change this culture. Yet I feel the attention of a lot of feminists is entirely in the wrong place.

I'm probably going to cause a little stir saying this, but it's how I really feel. I don't care about page 3. I think campaigning against it is a waste of time. All arguments about it objectifying women etc, why don't men do it etc aside: at the end of the day we don't live somewhere where women are forced to appear topless on page three, they choose to do this. Telling women they can't do this because XYZ reason, is actually pretty anti-feminists because I thought feminism was all about freedom choice? As for no men doing it - is there a demand for it? Are there men willing to do it? Maybe there is, in which case do something about getting a male version of page three up instead of trying to abolish the page three we have now. Of course, there's always the issue that children can buy a newspaper and be confronted by the image of a naked woman but really, why is this a problem? To me this stinks of the fear that comes along with female sexuality. A topless man is fine, but a topless woman? Oh no! Our bodies are completely sexualised and trying to ban page 3 just reinforces the idea that a woman's body is to be hidden away. As well as this, most children now have access to the internet where there are far worse things than a naked woman readily available at the click of a button. I'm not even talking about just hardcore porn, think about the horrific violent images and videos that can be found online. These are much more of a threat if you ask me than a page in a newspaper.

Page Three is probably my biggest issue with our generation of feminism in terms of campaigning against the wrong stuff, but there are other things that grind my gears. I see a lot of people getting wound up about certain Facebook pages. While some of these are indeed absolutely vile and deserve reporting, the most I see that get complained about are in reality quite harmless. I really don't care if someone makes a joke about women belonging in the kitchen. It just shows how poor their sense of humour is, but it's not something that's going to set us back in our fight for equality. Those pages about rules for girls or rules for boys, I hope you know the type of thing I mean, they get a lot of attention before. It's just another case of a rubbish sense of humour, it's ISN'T an attack on our rights! As for pages like one I saw a few weeks ago which was called something like Men Against Misandry - maybe the reason you don't like pages like this is because these men are making an issue out of nothing and you recognise that quality in yourself an don't like it. Again, I don't agree with what these men are saying and I think the small privileges women do have over men are not enough, nowhere near enough to say men are oppressed, they're not actively campaigning for us to get back in the kitchen and become baby making machines. They aren't a threat so why focus so much time and energy and protesting against them when you could be making actual positive changes elsewhere? Bitching about women like Samantha Brick or Liz Jones isn't going to get us anywhere either - although I do admit their abysmal "journalism" is certainly an interesting talking point. But again: they are not a genuine threat.

What is a genuine threat then? Like I said, rape culture is. Rather than telling women to not get raped, we need to start telling men to not rape. We need to educate people about consent, the fact that consent or non-consent isn't always verbal. We need to address a culture of victim blaming. We need to work out a way to solve the disproportion in numbers of women who are sexually assaulted and the number of convictions that happen. We need to STOP assuming that the police never believe us - speaking from experience, there are some caring, understanding officers out there who do everything in their power to help you and these police members need praising so that others follow suit. We need to get abortion available in Northern Ireland because currently different laws apply there than they do here in England. While I like the Everyday Sexism Project, I think it seems to just call attention to the harassment women face on a daily basis - drawing attention to something is very different from fighting against it.

Despite all this though, I am a feminist. I wholeheartedly believe feminism still is needed. I'll talk about the positives of feminism in part 3!