The traditional feminist: a person dedicated to the equal rights of men and women, who campaigns for and represents both men and women on political, social and generic issues regarding inequality. The modern, 3rd wave feminist, however, is different.
Before I alienate many of the people of The RHS, I in no way oppose the campaign for gender equality; I am an advocate for it, and see no reason for a modern day society still to have fundamental inequalities in between genders. I do not aim this at every feminist, but the minority that create a negative stereotype for feminism everywhere. Thus I oppose this part of the modern feminist movement, which, instead of campaigning for gender equality, has turned into a women empowerment campaign and, most importantly, only contests the inequality of women, not the inequality of men. I find this hypocritical, creating a world of reverse sexism.
Firstly, allow me to define the word ‘feminism’: it is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of sexes. Now this all encompassing definition surely suggests that women have the desire to be equal to men across the board. However, the hypocrisy is clear to me. I’m sure you have heard of the feminist campaigns and uprisings against unequal pay in the government department of Equality, and the campaigns against the statistic that 58% of domestic workers are women which has been described as ‘the feminist’s final frontier’. On the other hand, I bet that you haven’t heard of the campaign, by feminists, against the increased likelihood for adoption acceptance if you are a woman; or the lack of safe house provision for men in abusive relationships. Because they don’t exist.
So how can feminists honestly say they wish for equal rights if the only sex they care about being equal is women, and more pertinently: they turn a blind eye when women are above men in an area of society.
Let me use an illustrative example: the inequality of the law against rape. This is a pristine example of reverse sexism whereby the law has become more forgiving and understanding towards females being raped, and has moved away from leniency towards men. Understandably this did need to change, as 50 years prior, men could only really be prosecuted for rape if the woman had insurmountable evidence proving it. However, the change has gone above and beyond equality to the point where only 19% of men come forth about rape incidents compared to the 82% that come forward that are women because of the fact that the law doesn’t regard them with the same severity. Also male rape trials are relatively new to the courtroom, being introduced in 1994 as a legitimate illegal offence. So what does this all show? It illustrates the fundamental point that feminists have overlooked this factor and have kept quiet about inequality in the very laws that govern our society that leads to the disempowerment of men.
Even the word feminist has become exclusive, whereby people only think this applies to women. As I said earlier feminism is a synonym for gender equality; however, the idea of it has been morphed to the extent that feminism is now (to many) synonymous with angry women burning bras and parading through the streets half naked. Evidence for the exclusionary factor of feminism is that masculism has sprung up, admittedly to a far lesser extent. This to me seems counterproductive; surely two campaigns focussing on the furthering of their own sexes equality will further the reverse sexism that is currently going on, and as a result the two genders will never be equal as the spectrum will tip in the favour of one gender for a few years and then to the other. Allow me to give an anecdote on the exclusionary factor of feminism: once, in a class of 50 sociology students, the professor asked ‘who in here is a feminist?’ – and 5 girls raised their hands. Then he asked another question: ‘who in here advocates gender equality?’ – and the vast majority raised their hands, both men and women. This either identifies a lack of understanding of the word ‘feminism’ in one sociology class, which is a moot point, or it highlights the fact that feminism has become female.
And I’d finally like to address the popular campaign at the moment that white women do not get paid equally to white men. In fact all women are paid less than their male ethnic counterparts, and this has occurred even in places that strive for equality, for example the government department of equality! However, the flaw springs up again in that white women (as revealed by the National Committee on Equal Pay) are paid more than black or Hispanic men and women and the implication is that these men have very little voice as feminists persist in women’s pay equality. Again I ask if any of you have heard of campaigns to help these people?
Overall, I believe gender equality can never truly be established by the feminist campaign because for the most part it focuses on the issues of women, but does not contest the inequality men face and when women are ahead of men. This means that the spectrum of equality will constantly be fluctuating around, but never actually reaching equality. So instead of classifying yourself as a feminist which inadvertently excludes yourself from the male campaign for equality, join the equality campaign so that one day both sexes get equal opportunities in life.