The spirit of the legendary Amazonian warriors, fierce and independent, have been reborn out of the flames of oppression in the form of the modern feminist movement. These loyalist battalions have taken up arms to fight against the culture of the patriarchy and with its destruction lay the foundations of a society in which the sexes are equal.
This weekend saw the movement in action as millions of sisters all across the globe protested against the epitome of this cultural injustice, Donald J Trump. Some of his more unsavory comments which came to light during the campaign have made him a much divisive figure. In fact the march in Washington DC was larger than Trumps’ inauguration the previous day.
Watching some of the speeches which occurred at the woman’s march in DC what I realized was that not only is the march about equality for things like pay, its also about achieving equality within the culture of society too. References were made to Trumps “grab them by the pussy” remark as you’d expect, but it wasn’t just about that, they wanted their voices to be heard on things which are strictly woman’s issues such as periods, the tampon tax and much more.
It’s interesting asking men about feminism as an increasing number have become hostile to the cause, seeing it as an affront to masculine culture and nothing more than an attempt to place themselves ahead, rather than equal. They see nothing more than screeching, wailing and fanatical harpies to be fight against as cultural enemies. There are also those who in reply to asking them about feminism mention Egalitarianism. The simple meaning is equality for all individuals in society. They believe that instead of focusing on just one sex that we should focus on the injustices done to both. Then there are the men who feel they are allies of the movement, while not actively engaging in the politics of it all, they lend their support.
One of the responses to this movement is the sudden appearance of mens rights. These seek to highlight the injustices which are inflicted upon males by society. As noble as their cause is I don’t feel as if they’re doing the world any favours by trying to grab the spotlight at the expense of feminism. It only really achieves throwing a spanner into the works for both movements rather than advancing the real issues in any way.
The thing about feminism is that most men completely miss the point of it. They reject it out of a lack of true understanding for the issues which feminists are fighting against, and most importantly what they hope to achieve. I myself was included in this category. So I decided to do some research and in doing so I came up with a theory. Unlike First wave feminism which was about acquiring what could be seen as legal equality and Second wave feminism which saw the fight for sexual liberation, this new Third wave of feminism is about the fight for cultural equality.
The fight for cultural equality is hard to understand from a males perspective as we have it easy compared to our female counterparts. What I discovered that goes through the female mind in relation to the cultural injustices they endure which occur in the very mind and soul of society are quite saddening. For example while it may seem ordinary to do so we often associate certain activities or ideals with specific sexes and we are divided because of it. The most obvious of these is sports activities in schools, for instance football in considered a boys sport so girls aren’t allowed to play in case they get hurt with the rougher male opponents. It might seem something simple at first but the effects ripple throughout the very fabric of what’s socially acceptable for each gender. Another example, which also occurs in schools, of everyday sexism which girls have to endure is the debate around how they look, whether they wear too much makeup, the length (or lack of) their skirts and overall revealing nature of the uniforms they wear. It’s all about how they look rather than the responsibility of males of all ages not to sexualize them.
As women grow older the level of sexualisation and misogyny they endure only seems to expand. At the bottom end is the level of catcalling they receive due to putting a bit of effort into looking good from chauvinistic males to being groped in public or the unfortunate experience of being sexually assaulted. Some live in fear because some men can’t control themselves, thinking that if they somehow give men the wrong idea, even by doing something as simple as making prolonged eye contact, something will happen to them.
Even when its not an extreme, what about being harassed by an interested male to the point where you have to make up excuses like “oh I have a boyfriend” or “I’m a lesbian sorry”. It’s almost as if some people have more respect for an unknown man than an known women. It’s quite the disgrace. Women should live for themselves and not for the benefit of men, especially misogynistic ones at that.
The struggle for a equal, safe and secure society goes on.