For a lot of men (and, admittedly, a lot of women) feminism is not deemed a necessary political movement because, well… women have equality – don’t they? I mean, they don’t have to stay at home now, and they can wear what they like, so why are women moaning?
Yeah…. it isn’t that simple. Every feminist, at some point, will have been told “but we don’t need feminism anymore!” Well, here you have some evidence to prove those doubters wrong: Liz’s Handy List of Ten Reasons Feminism is Still Needed.
Every feminist, at some point, will have been told “but we don’t need feminism anymore!” Well, here you have some evidence to prove those doubters wrong: Liz’s Handy List of Ten Reasons Feminism is Still Needed.
- “Lad” culture. OK, I could probably write a book about the problems of lad culture and the need for someone to buy the poor misfortunate “lads” in question several feminist books, but I’m going to be succinct: going around and calling women slags does not make men more sexually desirable. Women are not, contrary to such opinion, blow up dolls built for pleasure – we have thoughts and feelings. If you are reading this and currently thinking that here I am wrong, and women solely exist for your sexual satisfaction: please invest in a blow-up doll, and cease to leave your bedroom. The world will benefit from one less lad.
- Rape (and rape jokes.) Rape jokes are, categorically, absolutely, 100% not ever funny. It doesn’t matter if you’re making the joke about your girlfriend, a stranger, a girl on a bus, a random girl on the internet: it’s still not funny. It’s no wonder less than 40% of rapes are reported to the police – many women fear they will not be believed. Imagine being stabbed, and then telling the police. “Well, are you sure you didn’t want to be stabbed? Maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing such thin clothes.” Then imagine having to hear people make jokes about it.
- Catcalling / street harassment. Men who engage in street harassment are not attractive, and it is not seen as complimentary to shout “nice tits!” out of your car window at a passing pedestrian, accompanied by honking your horn. It isn’t flattering, it isn’t ego boosting, it’s just demeaning and rude, and makes women singularly uncomfortable. If you can’t physically stop yourself from shouting “nice tits!” at women, I would strongly advice seeking medical attention.
- Pay inequality. Fun fact for you: did you know that due to the pay gap between men and women, women will essentially be working for free from the 4th of November until the end of the year? (Source) Women receive on average 15% less pay for the same work as men, and for women belonging to an ethnic minority, it’s 20%. Although women can be CEOs, of the 101 companies in the FTSE 100, only five have female bosses. Five. As Lily Allen sang: “there’s a glass ceiling to break/ there’s money to make.”
- The media. Again, this could be several articles in itself. Women are consistently negatively portrayed in the media, from adverts to music videos to TV shows. Women are often used as sexual objects in order to promote a product, with examples including close-up shots of women’s buttocks to sell jeans, nude/post-coital women to promote perfume and “sensual” close ups of lips to sell makeup. Advertising aside, women are seen as commodities in music videos – let’s not mention that Robin Thicke song – and in TV/films they are either seen as sexual and ‘bad’, or chaste and good, linking women’s sexual status to their morality and encouraging viewers to perpetuate stereotypes.
- Abortion. Although the 1967 Abortion Act legalised abortion (with restrictions), there remains a social stigma around abortion. 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime, but due to the perceived “shame” of the procedure, she may never discuss it with anyone other than her partner (and not even them, in some cases.) The regulation of women’s reproductive rights is also often decided by men, who frankly are unable to fully comprehend the experiences of women who are faced with these ludicrous laws. In America, in 2014 alone, there have been over 450 attempts to introduce laws restricting women’s bodies. There remain 0 laws restricting men in this manner.
The regulation of women’s reproductive rights is also often decided by men, who frankly are unable to fully comprehend the experiences of women who are faced with these ludicrous laws. In America, in 2014 alone, there have been over 450 attempts to introduce laws restricting women’s bodies. There remain 0 laws restricting men in this manner.
- Body/slut shaming. There are a number of terms with negative connotations surrounding promiscuous women. But there are a grand total of 0 such terms which insult men for being promiscuous, just as there are 0 terms that hold sexually active women in a positive light. Equally, public body shaming is not an issue that men commonly face (comparing penis size is a private thing, so sit down.) But a number of celebrity males have got involved with the Sun’s new “No More Skinny” campaign opposing size 0 models. These celebrities include Professor Green, whose wife Millie Mackintosh has been criticised for promoting an unhealthy and idealistic lifestyle – and that’s the same Pro Green who called her a “thinspiration.” Right.
- Gendered language. “Don’t be a lil bitch.” “You run like a girl.” Why are these even insults? Earlier this year, Always launched a campaign to reclaim the idea of doing something like a girl, asking girls and teenagers what the stereotype was, and then encouraging them to think of “like a girl” as a positive thing. Being a girl is to be strong – if you’ve ever seen a boy being kicked in the crotch, this only emphasises my point. Remember the wise advice of Betty White: “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding!”
- FGM. Female Genital Mutilation remains a considerable problem in Africa and the Middle East, where female sexual desire is perceived as negative and something to be controlled. While it varies in type from the removal of the clitoris to the complete surgical closure of the vagina, it is invariably performed without correct surgical equipment or supervision. FGM is becoming an increasing problem in the UK, where it remains illegal, but this does not change the horrifying fact that over 20,000 girls a year are at risk of FGM.
‘Not all men!’ Please just do not say this to any feminist. We know not all men are rapists or sexists. We aren’t saying so. When feminists talk about these issues, we aren’t accusing anyone specific (unless we are actually naming names.) When men say “not all men!” what they actually usually mean is “but I’m not like that.” It’s like a really lame attempt to prove that they aren’t a misogynist, as well as excusing the behaviour of their gender.
- Not all men! Please just do not say this to any feminist. We know not all men are rapists or sexists. We aren’t saying so. When feminists talk about these issues, we aren’t accusing anyone specific (unless we are actually naming names.) When men say “not all men!” what they actually usually mean is “but I’m not like that.” It’s like a really lame attempt to prove that they aren’t a misogynist/sexist/creep/general douche, as well as excusing the behaviour of their sex. Instead of being that guy who uses the trope, why not instead go with “hey, I respect what you’re saying, and I’d like to reassure you that I think men and women should be equal. I don’t condone the behaviour of other men.” (Please note this only works in person. On the internet, it just makes you look like a super-polite troll.)
So there you have it folks. Make an informed choice, but if you’re fed up of being called “the feminazi” or told that women need to stop whining, whip out the guide and give them a piece of your mind.