who doesn't love a feminist rant?
as i scrolled through the 4,500 posts from the “women against feminism” tumblr page, a sense of dread gripped me by the uterus. at first glance, it looks like the bedroom scribblings of an adorably oblivious tween, dotting her ‘i’s with hearts and listening to rebecca black while weighing up the pros and cons of team edward vs team jacob. this may actually be the case, i still dont know who created this page, so i have to say, i would generally leave things like this alone. I look back fondly on the paradox of cluelessness and rage that was my preteens and far be it from me to deny it to anyone else. but regardless of who began it, this blog currently has 8,700 followers and has gained international media attention, some of it from the UK and some of it positive. i’ll be honest, that scared me a little.
here are some of the reasons these women & girls gave for “standing against feminism.”
hmm… sounds familiar…
we dont need to go through each of these adorable little post-its and dissect them. this is what the entire blog is comprised of. thousands of women who still believe that feminism is synonymous with man-hating. dont worry about that too much, it’s nothing new. there will always be people in the world to whom a feminist gain is a masculine loss. think of that blog as part of the anti-women’s suffrage campaign of our time. we must think on it with nothing more than a bemused shrug and continue to do what we do.
my uneasiness with the WAF page comes not from the page itself, but from the media coverage of it. the story was picked up by the BBC and various other mainstream media outlets, many of whom have not mentioned the word “feminism” in any other context for quite some time.
“What does feminism even mean anymore?” hannah gale mused while writing for the metro. “It’s supposed to mean equality for women… There’s no denying we’re almost there, yes, there’s still more men in senior positions at the biggest companies in the world, and yes there’s more stay-at-home women than men, but women are entitled to everything men are, give or take a few things.” (those few things being political representation, equal pay, accurate media representation, life without sexual harassment and the fear of rape, stigma free sex lives and reproductive choice to name a few of them.) “Yes we’re grateful that we can vote and get an equal education and equal treatment in the office, but do we need to show off our tampon strings and say horrible things about men all the time, just because we can? I for one say, probs not. I get it girls, I get it.”
oh for fucks sake guys, which one of you man-bashers has been standing outside the metro offices waving your tampon strings about? it was hard to read that article. not just because of the obvious small minded ridiculousness, but because of the audience it would have reached.
i come from a normal, working class background. im from a town in which the average person is a tabloid reader. words like “feminism”, and phrases such as “male privilege” and “gender bias” simply do not reach us. there aren’t any teachers setting up feminist societies in our schools, no women’s organisations providing local activism, and no gender studies education. for most women in my hometown, experiences like street harassment, objectification and a fear of walking alone at night are just a normal part of being a girl, no discussion necessary. we are not pointed towards the books that would push us to question it and not taught about the women before us who did. the metro is just the kind of paper that would reach the people I grew up with and if coverage of the pitifully misguided WAF blog is the only way they are representing the current debates surrounding feminism then we have a fight on our hands.