Every time I write about something that is potentially controversial, I always preface with the proclamation that this article is my opinion, evoking my feelings and experiences, with no desire to inculcate anyone into the way I see and feel things. I am not trying to change the world. I am just sharing my point of view; a different point of view. This opening is actually going to be addressed as one of the reason why I am not a feminist and cannot identify with feminism, as it exists in these times.
Feminism was originally rooted in women achieving the right to vote. In almost all major democracies, this right was granted in the first half of the 20th century. While we live in an era in which every individual is considered equal law and has equal rights and duties, the problem is that feminism did not stop after achieving this original goal. In fact, the feminist movement made a deviant tangent towards erasing gender inequalities and boundaries that actually cannot be undone.
The problems that exist in countries where women are tortured, raped, uneducated, oppressed and killed, also deal with many other tremendous problems of the violation of human rights, not just women’s rights. Feminists see great value in fighting for women, rather than fighting for mankind. This is a particular area of discomfort for me. If we are standing for equality then we must understand that for equality to exist between men and women, that the rights of men are not ignored, in the name of feminism. So, I would like to be very clear that I do not need to subscribe to the feminist mind-set in order to be horrified by the atrocities that women experience worldwide – I can feel horrified because I am a human being.
The hypocrisy of feminism exists in trying to proliferate the image of the modern woman who is independent, self-sufficient and proud. While these are not necessarily negative qualities, they are projected by feminists with unspoken and hidden conditions. We cannot proclaim that we are independent and don’t need a man to complete us, then complain that all men are dogs. We cannot want to ‘open the door for ourselves’, then be disgusted when men allow us to. Feminism has become very convenient to its immediate, and what seems like its ever-changing purpose. We are happy to be considered independent, but we want more than three months maternity leave, a whole lot more maternity leave than men and reserve the pride that only WE can reproduce.
Our natural, as well as our societal roles, differ. It is an inherent difference that laws cannot change. The difference lies in our very nature; in basic understandings like yes, we are the only ones who can bear children and breast feed them. Feminists are proud of this, as though it was one of the things they fought to achieve. However, there are some gender imbalances that simply must exist.
In almost all sports, the gender bias is expected and the feminists are silent, accepting of this gender imbalance. Although there is the existence of vastly different amounts of output of energy and displays of strength and stamina among men and women in various sports, there has still been a recent clamouring for women to be paid equal prize money as men. The hypocrisy and blind acceptance of this school of thought continue to bewilder and amaze me. The reality, the harsh reality, is that the public wants to see men play the same sports, much more than they want to see women. Therefore, men’s tournaments generate a whole lot more revenue than women’s sports. This cannot be ignored in times where sports is a big business. Women’s sports fail on every level to attract the revenue that is generated by their male counterparts. Feminists cannot expect women to earn the same amount as men, in prizes and money, when they generate so much less of it. I think it is fantastic that there are women’s teams at a national level of so many sports and I truly hope that this grows, but the fact remains that women do much less than men in tournaments like Tennis Grand Slams, but expect the same rewards.
Women, generally, and especially feminists, do not want to be judged and valued based on how they look. They should not be pressured to shave their legs in order to be attractive; or wear make-up and sexy clothes in order to be considered desirable; or be a size four to not be considered chunky. Yet men are constantly judged and expected to live up to a certain standard and expectation in order to be considered good enough for the modern woman. The hypocrisy is glaring when men are pressured to be big income-earners with nice cars and homes; they do not need to have six-pack abs, but they dare not have the very front-pooch that we want overlooked in ourselves; we want them to be the hunters and providers, even if we can provide for ourselves (being strong, independent women, and all), but we must not be expected to be the child-bearing home-makers, all in the name of being ‘progressive’.
Feminists are proud of the women who run marathons while menstruating, without wearing any feminine hygienic product, in the name of ‘liberty’, not realising that the only thing more absurd that actually running and bleeding all over the place, is the celebration of the absurdity. We do not need to be distasteful and offensive to prove a point. In fact, I found Kiran Gandhi to be quite backward to run the London marathon while ‘free-bleeding’. This is a step in the opposite direction, away from progression and equal rights. Society is not ‘uncomfortable with the natural process’, as she accused. Some of us are simply disgusted with her display of tastelessness. I am not sure how much awareness was raised about our sisters who do not have access to sanitary products, as was her aim, but I do know she made a name for herself. One thing she was right about though, is that ‘women’s bodies do not exist for public consumption’. That is why her bodily functions on display for the public was highly inappropriate and backward and a giant leap away from all that we should be trying to achieve.
The irony of feminism is that while they believe that they are fighting the good fight to achieve equality for women, they do so on condition. Any view, opinion or nuance that is in disagreement with what they subscribe to, is instantaneously shot down as being ‘un-feminist’. But you cannot be fighting for equal rights on one hand and then be dismissive of any opinion that differs with yours. True equality lies in allowing and respecting everyone to have their own opinions and make their own choices without ridicule or threat. For example, this entire article is simply my opinion, to which I am entitled, yet I expect to be put in my place for misconstruing the true meaning of feminism, because a feminist will disagree with me and find it fit to share her opinion. Her opinion is, of course, acceptable because it is a feminist view, while mine is not.
Female politicians in many countries drive the support of the female vote, which in the eyes of feminism, is acceptable. If they lose however, it is because she was somehow persecuted by her male opponent in some way, not at all because she was simply not good enough as a candidate. If a man lost to a woman, I am not sure he would be supported if he complained that it was because he was a man.
Our celebrities are revered for spewing hate in the name of feminism and we do not just condone it, we celebrate it. If male celebrities spewed hate about a female politician, the way Madonna and Ashley Judd did, I do not know if they would still be respected in the industry. Displays like Madonna’s and Judd’s simply project feminist as extremists. Let us not forget that terrorists are considered extremists, as well. These women were put on a feminist pedestal for trying to incite the crowd, even if it was via the irresponsible spewing of potential violence or the misuse of Nazi ideology. I cringed when I listened to them; they actually made me ashamed of my gender, unaware that such beautiful, intelligent and progressive women, could actually project themselves in such a terrible light.
We want to teach our girls to shatter glass ceilings and blaze their own trails, but not at the expense of male persecution, in the name of feminism. We should raise our girls to respect themselves, as much as they respect others, even men. The real world is hard for women, but it is hard for men as well. They should be taught to work with men and women, not against them. We cannot achieve equality by teaching inequality.
I am quite capable of doing everything for myself and I WILL do it if need be. But I do not need to be in constant competition with men in order to feel strong in body, mind and character. I love that some men still understand the value of chivalry and I think more women should expect it and enjoy it. Whereas I don’t consider us to be the weaker sex, I like considering myself the softer gender. Soft doesn’t make me weak or dependent…it simply makes me a woman, it makes me feminine, but I am not a feminist.