Feminism and Age

Women’s site, Ravishly, posted an article arguing against the de- sexualisation of older women. While I agree with the sentiment, what struck me was the fact that it’s the age bracket 18 – 24 who are considered “young enough” for marketers, the media, etc. Someone between the ages 18 – 24 is someone who has just passed adolescence!

I guess I’m getting a bit personal here (since I’m 27), but I just find it disheartening that it’s only the late teens/ early 20’s that are considered “young”, especially in the media. Sure, for most people, 18 – 24 are the ages when you leave school, start working, go to Uni or TAFE, move out of home, have already developed a sense of sexuality and relationships, maybe even in long – term relationships. Looking at my friends on Facebook, 25 – 30 seems to be when people are more solid in their lives. They’re married, engaged, or otherwise in long – term relationships. They are, or have been at Uni. I read about one friend last night who just completed a Masters (not sure in what). She’s a couple months younger than me.

Sure this isn’t every body. but I can see a pattern. 25 – 30 age bracket, for a lot of people, is about getting to the point in your life where you have often lived a little bit and, for most people, it’s the next stage. But is it an expiry date? I hope not! I mean, sure, some industries like modelling, thrive on people (especially women), probably under the age of 25. But for the rest of us, well, at least I hope, those who are between the ages of 25 – 30 can still flourish and have opportunities that we can still grab on to.

 

There is some good news for people between 25 – 30 though. According to Mamamia, a “scientific study” revealed that the best ages to get married is between 28 – 32. So, for women my age, relax ladies, there’s still time.

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If This Is Feminism, Then I’m Not One

If this is feminism today, then I’m not one.

OK, I’ll be fair, apparently this is a form of “militant feminism”. I call it exploiting traumatic events. Or exploiting your body to get into an industry that you want to be a part of, like journalism (an example in the article).

So, to sell a painting, you have to depict rape – even if it’s actually not based on a real event.

And you have to sell your body to become a writer or rehash trauma in public to get published.

Got it. Don’t want any part in it.

 

You can see this “militant feminism” backfiring from a mile away. You can just see this sort of sorrow politics or exploiting trauma as a way to alienate mainstream public from any feminist movement.

Let me make one thing clear (probably should have done that at the start. Better late than never, right?), I’m NOT against women or people of any gender, opening up about past instances of sexual assault. I’m NOT against people creating genuine awareness campaigns to better tackle rape. But frankly, I don’t see this particular brand of “feminism” doing either. If anything – especially if the stories are fabricated, it will only make it harder for rape victims to speak up without the fear of not being believed. That’s why I was critical of the Rolling Stones mess of a story of “Jackie”, a former student of University of Virginia who claimed to be raped, only to have her account of events fall apart days later. Yet, feminist publications, such as Mamamia, lapped it up, even when the allegation didn’t add up.

 

Feminism is supposed to be empowerment, isn’t it? Why is it suddenly (in some cases), become about victim exploitation? Also, if journalism has fallen into that trap as well, then I don’t want any part in it. Award women based on merit, not by how much you can exploit their past or use their sexuality. Make it about merit. That goes for any industry.

Let’s make feminism be about the rights of ALL women again. Make it empowering again, and not about sex or rehashing trauma.

Is There Really A “Rape Culture”?

I watched about a minute of a short video of feminist writer Clementine Ford, explaining what “rape culture” is and how it’s prevalent in society. Not all women – or indeed all self – described feminists believe this. For example, Canadian, Lauren Southern:

I seriously wonder whether she has a point, to be honest. It’s always shocking to here of a girl or woman or boy or man reports getting raped. It’s always stirs anger when reports of rape and indecent assault get splashed on the news. But is this a “rape culture”?

In the video, Southern argues that men who commit rape or make light of rape are by large dealt with legally or are condemned by society and face sacking from their work. In 2014,, so – called “pick up artist” Julien Blanc, had his visa to Australia cancelled due to his misogynistic views and videos on – line that saw him indecently assault women as a “pick – up” technique. Both women AND men in the media condemned his tactics. Due to public pressure, his shows in Melbourne and Brisbane were eventually cancelled after public backlash. The – then Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison cancelled Blanc’s Visa.

There are incidents where rape victims aren’t given justice. The case where convicted rapist Ricky Slater was killed by Benjamin Batterham after he broke into his Newcastle home. He had a history of violent sex crime convictions. Why Slater wasn’t in jail, or able to roam around and break into someone’s house I don’t know. I’m in favour of mandatory life for those who repeatedly commit such sickening crimes. Yet, when story of the killing was made public, (at least from what I saw on social media and blogs), most people that I could gather, supported Batterham, even after he was convicted of murder. Frequent reason given was that Slater shouldn’t have intruded and Batterham was trying to protect his sleeping child.

One rape is too many. Rape jokes aren’t funny. Victim – blaming is appalling. Is this widespread though? I’ve got to say, I think I agree with the likes of Southern. Rape does occur. People are insensitive or downright abhorrent about rape. The law does get it wrong. But I think it’s fair to say that most women – and men, do condemn rape. That doesn’t sound like widespread rape culture to me.

 

What do you think? Do you think we have a “rape culture” in the West?

How Political Correctness Kills Feminism

 

I was watching the video above yesterday (if you have just over an hour and a half to spare, go and check it out), about political correctness and how it’s killing debate and harming academia in American colleges. And you know what? I actually AGREED with most of what was said.

Political correctness – at least the way it often is – does stifle debate. I agree with the overall sentiment that all the panellists kept coming back to: if you don’t agree/ like what someone’s saying, rebut it. Don’t silence it. Of course, there is a line. Not one of the panellists advocated for hate speech or inciting violence. That’s not what this was about. In regard to political correctness, one of the panelists, self – described feminist and Democrat supporter, Christina Summers acknowledged that “political correctness” , as in respecting people’s requests to use respectful language, was fine. The problem with modern – day feminism – and colleges/ Universities in general, was that people – ironically including those who were supposed to be “protected” were being attacked – sometimes violently (e.g. an African American student was being attacked for opposing the #BlackLivesMatter movement).

Another topic that was talked about was “trigger warnings”. I’ve argued that trigger warnings on blogs can be useful when writing on – line, and I still stand by that comment. However, I believe that they should be used sparingly, and should not be used to avoid mere offence. In an education context, I can see that this may be harder. Some texts do explore traumatic events, and these should not be censored. They should be able to be talked about with sensitivity. I don’t believe in throwing people who have been traumatised by abuse, etc should be thrown under the bus. But sensitivity shouldn’t lead to downright censorship.

I want to tell you a personal account. When I was at school, we studied two texts: one was a play “Property of the Clan” and the film adaptation “Blackrock” by Nick Enright in Year 10 Drama and “The Shawshank Redemption” in Year 11 Advanced English. Both texts featured rape or rape threats. I remember that our teacher warned us about the content and allowed us to process any negative emotions we felt. I remember crying during “Property of the Clan” and “Blackrock”. We still read through the whole play, but we did skip the rape scene in the movie (I think that may have been mainly because it was MA 15+ rated). I can’t see why universities can’t talk about topics such as what I wrote above, while being sensitive to people’s emotions.

One criticism that the panellists pointed out what the hypocrisy of the Left and how their, often abusive, speech isn’t silenced. Abuse should be condemned full – stop. This doesn’t do feminism or any other cause, for that matter, any favours.

Misinformation doesn’t do anyone any favours either, and gives feminism in general a bad name. If you look at the video, for example, Summers debunked the often quoted statistic that 1 in 5 female students in American colleges suffer sexual assault while on campus. She explained the methodology and how they got the result and why it was not reliable. She said that the rate was between 1 – 2%; 1 in 53. Any advocacy work relies on facts. Feminists can only expect backlash and less support if they get people to rely on false information. The rate of abuse, whether on campuses, in marriages/ relationships, etc. should be zero. Any decent human  being knows that. Lying, or at least tampering with the truth, doesn’t do anyone any favours.

 

If feminism and any other form of advocate wants to be supported, they need to be relevant and factual or risk losing public support. With speech, unless it’s outright discriminatory or incites violence, it should be permitted. Unpopular ideas should be at least up for debate. Topics like rape should be able to be talked about in an educational contexts while being sensitive to people’s reaction and experiences. Lastly, respect needs to be granted on both the progressive AND conservative sides. Verbal/ cyber and physical abuse should be condemned, REGARDLESS on where people sit on the political spectrum. It’s time feminists and the Left end the hypocrisy. It’s beyond a joke.