Sunday, 14 July 2013

A New Dirty Word?

Being (A) a woman, (B) a survivor of rape and sexual abuse and (C) a fairly intelligent person capable of reading a variety of media sources I cannot fail to notice that discrimination, abuse and violence against women is still shockingly prevalent worldwide. It's somewhat of a stain on the human conscience that things such as victim blaming, honour killings, wage inequality and denial of women's basic rights have been allowed to continue into the 21st century. I have, and will continue to campaign for equality and raise awareness for women, worldwide, who struggle and suffer purely for the sake of their gender. It is something I have always felt passionate about.

With that said, I am NOT a feminist. It is a label I refuse to apply to myself due to an increasing negative connotation that is becoming attached to it and what appears to be an expanding minority that are just propagating that negativity.

I found myself embroiled in a twitter "debate" (I use the term loosely as there was little rational discourse coming from some participants) last week and was truly astounded how there are some people out there who will twist absolutely any scenario so that they can cry "misogyny" and act the victim. Anyone who disagrees with them is shouted down with such vitriol that it seems as though even if all chauvinism and inequality disappeared overnight they'd still be angry tomorrow. They are blinkered to the suffering of any group that isn't women and they tarnish the reputations of the many, rational, feminists who continue to support the goals and ideals that the feminist movement first began with.

I fail to see how this is supposed to benefit the cause for equality. I refuse to gain rights by taking those of others, I refuse to play the victim and I refuse to let the sacrifices and advancements made by those who first fought to get out from under the subjugation of a male dominated world to be subverted by those who seem to believe it gives them the right to dictate what other women should think, feel or do!

It's a shame that it has come to this. That a movement that began for all the right reasons and with the very best of intentions has, in the public eye, become a standing joke that evokes mental images of bitter, man-hating women with doc martins and moon cups angrily hollering at any woman who dares to shave her legs that she's a traitor to her sex.

Feminism has become a dirty word, a parody of its origins that instantly removes any hope of being taken seriously as a woman the second it is uttered and prevents us from bringing about any real change.

So, while I will continue to oppose the sexism, discrimination, the violence and abuse that is carried out against hundreds of thousands of women every day, I am NOT a feminist, I will oppose all discrimination and injustice wherever I see it. I am an egalitarian!


  1. Amazing post again. I have found this in multiple movements as they grow. It reminds me of black empowerment employment as well as the way some religious groups turn on others when they get power (think Israel and Palestine). Equality for all is what I say.

  2. Thanks Christian :) You're right, this isn't something that's confined just to feminism, I did start off writing this post about all ideologies but it became far too cumbersome and didn't read well.

    I think this relates to how I view extremism in general. Any good idea can be corrupted when it's taken too far and doesn't take account of human nature. When that happens I think we all have a responsibility, as part of society, to speak out and prevent extreme views from gaining a foothold in the public psyche.