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.