Browsing Tag

post truth era

Posted on September 24, 2018

‘Women should support women’ – a flawed feminist concept?

Uncovered

I’ve been in two minds about publishing this piece. I mean, how can I not be? The post-truth era of today is making it increasingly difficult for curious thinkers to have open discourse about important issues. Often times, those who seek out the truth – or at least, their understanding of the truth are branded as ignorant, behind with the times or dare I say, ‘bigots.’

Having been in a position where my own views were misconstrued, I am now very wary about how I express my opinions online. So as a disclaimer, I think it is important to note that this blog is not about discrediting feminism or the efforts of the feminist activists. This blog is about critically looking at some of the standards that are set on women by other women who claim to be members of a movement that is rooted in freedom of choice.

Shall we begin then?

I think mainstream media portrays modern feminism in a way that makes it toxic and full of intellectual inconsistencies. For instance, women who choose to wear the burqa are seen as oppressed, but then women who willingly strut their stuff for a living as grid girls are thought to be in an inappropriate line of work. There seems to be a mixed criteria for who qualifies as a feminist, even within the feminist movement.

I’ve always had a warped impression of the word feminist.  In many ways, I feel that the label has become incredibly tainted overtime. The negative stereotypes attached to the title are even resulting in less and less women identifying as feminist, despite having feminist ideals.

According to a recent poll from Refinery29 and CBS News, about 54% of young women say they do not identify as feminists. Some even believe that there is no need for the current feminist movement at all.

I personally do believe there is a place for feminism today, particularly in Third World countries. However, my growing disillusionment with feminism in Western civilisation is making me increasingly critical of the movement as a whole. Like when I hear the often feminist buzz phrase ‘women should support women,’ I find it incredibly unsettling. There is just something about the word ‘should’ in that sentence that doesn’t sit well with me.

I am someone who champions individuality and thinks there is no shame in embracing the characteristics and attributes that make a person unique. In my thinking, there is an underlying prejudice that exists within the phrase ‘women should support women,’ because it insinuates that being a woman is the only prerequisite for why females should support one another.

I think this immediately disregards important attributes possessed by women that make us valuable candidates for support. It frames women as weak and it fails to acknowledge us as the strong, capable beings that we most definitely are.

I want to be supported based on my merit, not based on my genitalia. I want to know that I am getting a person’s support because they believe in me as a person, not because of my gender. I want your support because your values align with mine.

I believe that women have many wonderful characteristics that make us worthy of support and blindly supporting a  woman just because she is female ignores this.

Women are complex, intelligent creatures that deserve support not for being women but for being exceptional ones.

Granted, supporting anyone in their endeavors is always a positive development. But I can’t help but wonder if the forced nature of ‘women should support women’ goes against feminism, or at least feminism in its true sense.

Riddle me this…

That was funny. But I meant this…

If feminism is about men and women deserving equal rights and separating a person’s gender from their value, worth and place in society because of the idea that men and women are both the same, then isn’t it a bit contradictory to let a person’s sex be the deciding factor for why you support them?

And if feminism is about freedom of choice and women making choices for themselves, then doesn’t the imposing nature of ‘women should support women,’ strip us away of both our choices and ability to think independently? Worth thinking about!

Bottom line, if a person’s decision to support someone centers around gender then I think it diminishes their values, work ethic and merit – all the things that I imagine, would make someone worthy of support.

‘Women should support women’ is reductive and places a woman’s value on gender. My gender is not the whole sum of me and yours shouldn’t be either – see what I just did there? 😉

You are more than your gender, ladies.

Yes, empowered women, empower girls. But it is also true that empowered people, empower everyone.

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Posted on March 8, 2018

Today is International Women’s Day…but what does being a woman mean in 2018?

Sexuality/ women

Disclaimer: This blog post is referring to my own subjective experience of being a cis woman and my dealings with cis men. It is in no way to refer to trans or non binary people, I support them in their journeys and I would never want for this blog post to denounce their gender identity. New experience has taught me that the metrics I use to measure my womanhood are not representative of every woman, they are unique and very central to me (I may touch on the “why?” at a later time). I have no intention of being exclusionary as I wrote this blog from my own personal perspective, which inherently is that of a cis woman. I recognise that not all women identify as women in a similar way to me – and I think these differences should be celebrated! Outside of this discussion, we are all human and that is all that matters! I hope you enjoy this read and I look forward to hearing your feedback 🙂

Without further ado….

What does being a woman mean in 2018?

For all of human history, there have only ever been two sexes: male and female. What separated one from the other is that a male (or a man) has the tools to impregnate a female and a female (or woman) has the reproductive organs to carry out said pregnancy. Simple, right? I’m afraid not.

In our current climate of the Post-Truth era, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to define what I have always considered to be basic biology. The rise of gender theory and the concept that gender is non-binary and is something that can be chosen by an individual, is creating a landscape in which it is seemingly no longer acceptable to rely on simple biology to determine the things we have always known to be a factually true.

Gender theory removes fixed biological determinants for what makes someone a man or in this debate, what makes a person a woman. It proposes the idea that sex and gender are two completely different categories thus those who are born as male and consequently have male appendages can someday be women simply by saying so.

It more or less looks like this….

While I take no issue with how people choose to present themselves to the world, I personally feel that the contribution of science is something that we cannot ignore, especially when it comes to matters of what being a woman means. The notion that sex and gender are completely uncorrelated perpetuates a free-for-all world where males can be women and females can be men and as someone who has lived and experienced a lot of complexities that not only come from being born a woman, but also be born a woman of colour, I feel that maintaining such an idea devalues my unique female experiences. It fails to acknowledge some of the pressures that I was faced with being born a woman, but most of all I think it  reduces me to just one thing.

I do not have a personal problem with people who choose to identify as the gender that differs from the one they feel they were assigned to at birth, and being a woman who takes an interest in fitness and muscle building – something that some people may view as being typically  ‘masculine,’ I understand that masculinity and femininity can be shaped culturally. However, I also have a degree in Statistics, a mathematical science. So when I ask what a woman is, that question is being driven by the logical part of my soul. The part of me  that is responsible for logic and truly wants to get to the bottom of this sex and gender debate – if at all possible.

I have always been fascinated by the human body and its capabilities and it goes without saying that there is an abundance of scientific research that shows biological differences between men and women. The set of biological traits that differentiate women from men are things that I feel should be celebrated. In fact, some of them are things that I pride myself on.

As a woman I am empowered by my ability to give endlessly and selflessly and offer empathy to those who don’t deserve it. As a woman I am empowered by the relentless fight fought by female activists up to 100 years ago that led to women having the choices we have today. But most of all, as a woman, I am empowered by the fact that I have the tools to bring life to this world. 

Let’s be clear…

That’s not to say that women who cannot bear children are not real women. That’s no criticism on women with a history of miscarriages because they have struggles carrying a full term pregnancy. And it most certainly does not mean that women who choose not to have kids are lesser.

Are we clear on that?

I have my own personal reasons for why I shape my womanhood in the manner that I do and I understand that what empowers me might not empower every other woman out there. But…

I cannot change what makes me feel like a woman.

We all have different versions for what we think constitutes a woman and I am aware that what is true to me may not be necessarily true to every other woman. The variables that I use to define what makes make me a woman are for me and I understand that in a society that is ever growing and changing, it is not the same across the board. Which is why I ask….

What is a woman and what does it mean to be a woman in 2018?

My biggest fear surrounding the current dialogue around this topic is the greater impact of such a narrative. If we say that gender is non-binary and that people can claim membership for whichever gender they see fit then it takes science off the table completely.  If we don’t have a certain set of rules governing what makes a man and what makes a woman, and if we as a collective society cannot decide how to define these terms, then what are the implications for our future generations?

In a perfect world we would have a civilisation where each and every person could live as their best and most authentic self. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and that is why I think it is important to engage with these questions and have these discussions.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s pick each other’s brains a bit. Let’s explore the meaning of womanhood and all the beauty that it encompasses: ask yourself, what is a woman and what does it mean to be a woman in 2018? 🙂

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Happy International Women’s Day to all the ladies who identify as such x

[Last Updated: on Sunday 18th March at 7.00pm]

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