22 October 2012

Feminism Rules, OK! Err, Or Not Apparently…

Is Feminism Still Relevant?

You might have heard – feminism is on the out. Well, according to a load of ladies Netmums spoke to anyway. Apparently, more of us gurlz feel that feminism is ‘not relevant’ (24 per cent) ‘too aggressive’ (almost a third) and ‘old fashioned’ (one in five), than ever.

In fact, so the survey says, fewer than one in ten (nine per cent) of women aged 25-29 identified with feminism at all. AT. ALL. So what has gone wrong?

At 24 I actually agree - to some extent anyway. I would (and do) call myself a feminist. There are plenty of great feminists who are still breaking down boundaries and I’m not doubting their presence is more than needed. A lot of what is written by traditional ‘feminists’ leaves me feeling so angry I want to tug on their armpit hair. In fact, there are some that I would question are feminists at all.

They’re usually the aggressive types who dictate the rules that you must abide by to be a part of the posse. Don’t shave your legs, don’t even think about waxing your pubes and, for god’s sake, don’t settle down and have children before you’ve bagged the top job – preferably from under a man’s feet.

The idea that a hierarchy appears to exist in modern feminism (which it does) mocks the very essence of the cause. And it’s pretty annoying.

What they don’t realise is that there was a time when feminists needed to be aggressive; of course there was. Women needed to act like men in order to equal them. But, to a great extent, it worked. So for me and my generation, feminism isn’t about fighting the battle but negotiating the aftermath.

We still want equal pay, an end to gender discrimination and sexism – we do. But for us sexism is less aggressive than it was. The men we’ve grown up, men our own age at least, around think of women as their equal - it’s all a normal part of the world we know. Think of us as neo-feminists.

In our world, men like shopping and buy their own exfoliator. In every relationship I’ve been in, my boyfriends have been verging on being higher maintenance than me in the grooming stakes. And cooking, and cleaning, come to mention it. They want to settle down and they’re not afraid to say it, and they don’t mind not being the boss.

To me feminism isn’t about every woman aiming for the top: it’s about choice, and freedom to make the choices we want to without facing criticism.

Waxing without being accused of ‘pandering’ to a male fantasy, being able to say that we’d quite like to raise a family instead of having a career if we want to.

I’m not by any means saying traditionally feminist issues don’t still exist – of course they do. And they are still as relevant as ever. But following the feminist movement of our older peers, which (thankfully) eliminated an awful lot of aggressive sexism, younger men have changed too – so now it’s more about picking the battles (of which I admit there are many), not waging a war, and changing the attitudes that lurk like a hangover from times gone by.

It’s more than likely that these ladies are feminists – even if they don’t admit it. Feminism is not dead, but it’s changing – which is a good thing. It’s just that many young women don’t recognise it anymore.

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Comments

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Umber Carter-Knowles (Mon Oct 22 10:32:34 BST 2012): most of what's in this 'article' is just utter lies.
Umber Carter-Knowles (Mon Oct 22 10:33:13 BST 2012): who exactly is waging a 'war' instead of fighting many battles? and is there really a difference?
Francesca Lewis (Mon Oct 22 12:33:56 BST 2012): This amended version isn't any better. ALL of the bits that inspired so many angry comments on the original are still here, just with added doth-protest-too-much style attempts to soften the blows - you may as well have added "I'm not anti-feminist honest, some of my best friends are feminists!" I'd have more respect for the writer if she at least attached her name to this. Still a massive case of CITATION NEEDED - there isn't even a link to these statistics from Netmums - how do we know she hasn't made them up? We might want to look at them and analyse their validity ourselves. I googled it myself: http://www.netmums.com/home/feminism.
Laura Fisher (Tue Oct 23 14:15:31 BST 2012): This is confused - are we waging a war, picking our battles, or negotiating an aftermath? We can't be doing all three surely? And whilst the author's world appears to be populated by enlightened 21st Century males, unfortunately that simply isn't a reality for huge numbers of women in this country alone.
Emily Jordan (Tue Oct 23 15:05:04 BST 2012): what the eff is that picture? what the eff with the feminists are hairy jokes? Don't they have malicious pot shots at Jennifer Aniston to be getting on with?
Laura Fisher (Tue Oct 23 15:44:59 BST 2012): Hmm, yes no clue why that image is relevant.
Rebecca Gower (Tue Oct 23 17:03:46 BST 2012): I keep hearing this "pick our battles" point of view when it comes to feminism. Since when does equal rights have a quota of issues to address? This article has nothing to back itself up and this writer seems to have no understanding of what feminism means.
Claudia Rose Walder (Tue Oct 23 21:56:45 BST 2012): Stories like this are the reason why so little women are proud to call themselves feminists. Generalisations and references to underarm hair aren't real journalism, nor are they comments that should be made by someone who calls themselves a feminist or a neo-feminist, but you clearly haven't made up your mind. What is worse is the generalisation of males, "In our world, men like shopping and buy their own exfoliator," yes I'm sure some men do, but bundling men and women into new stereotypes is just as bad as bundling them into the old ones.
Jasmine Zoë (Tue Oct 23 23:14:03 BST 2012): Total utter bullshit.
Paloma Walder (Wed Oct 24 11:52:10 BST 2012): U go guuuuurl
Lauren Sourbutts (Fri Nov 02 16:48:45 GMT 2012): This writer clearly has no idea what feminism is.
Kelli Ryan (Thu Dec 27 11:38:35 GMT 2012): Absolutely gob smacked by this article.. To say that younger generations of males understand equality is absolutely ridiculous when to this day refuges across the country are at full capacity with women and children still fleeing abusive relationships.
Alyx Leeming (Sat Apr 13 21:06:17 BST 2013): " The men we’ve grown up, men our own age at least, around think of women as their equal " I don't know how old the illusive writer of this article is but I'm 20, and not all of the men my age think of women as equals. In fact, far from it. The writer of this clearly hasn't met any LADS #BANTER. In 1 of my lectures the other day my teacher asked a class of 45 to raise their hands if they were a feminist. 2 people did. The next question was if you believe women should have equal rights. EVERYONE raised a hand. And I don't think its because they think feminism is not needed any more or "too aggressive." But its articles like this and the ideas that come with it and the stigma attached to it that make young people feel ashamed/embarrassed to call themselves one. #Bantz