Am I a feminist?

Lately, I’ve trawled YouTube and have been watching videos on different women and how they view feminism. A number of them classify themselves as “anti – feminist” or neither anti or pro feminist. Here are just some of the videos I’ve watched lately.

Content warning: coarse language

OK, that’s one of the videos I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. I have seen others, but haven’t found them (note to self – keep titles of YouTube videos in mind or written down!).

Anyway, just trawling through the videos just then (there are MANY both pro and anti feminist videos out there), a question came to me – am I a feminist?

Well, it depends what you mean by “feminist”. These days, I believe the term has been hijacked by social justice warriors that have made women in particular run from the label. When you have “feminists” like Clementine Ford and Van Badham, I, like other Millennials want to run away from the label faster than you can say “I am woman”. Also, there are a lot of myths that have plagued feminism, like the 1 in 5 rape statistic in America that is apparently debunked:

 

Closer to home, feminists have been accused of pursuing trivial causes, while ignoring the suffering of women in the Middle East and Africa under Islamic rule. Feminists have also been accused of ignoring the domestic violence epidemic in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in the Northern Territory. To be fair to feminists, sites like Mamamia have reported on DV in ATSI communities, but it has been few and far in between from what I’ve seen, which, if I’m looking properly, is disappointing. Then again, it’s not hard to do. I’ve only written about the issue once. Then, there’s the whole political correctness overkill, trigger warnings overkill, etc, etc. Yep, it’s turned into a bit of an unfunny joke, really.

 

However, there are feminist blogs I do read and I do agree with some of the sentiments. Sites like Ravishly are very inclusive and do give voice to women of colour, as well as Caucasian women, including many LGBTQ+ women. I do have respect for how they allow women to talk about different struggles such as mental illness. Also, again, closer to home, last week, in light of disability awareness, Mamamia did a great job giving voices to women affected by a physical disability or looking after a grown child with a disability. Despite the criticisms I’ve made toward publisher, Mia Freedman, I do admire her for her advocacy a number of causes, many of which her and the rest of the Mamamia team do very well.

So, feminist publications do a good job in raising awareness about issues. But, am I a feminist?

To be honest, I’m actually not sure. I mean, I do write and care about women’s rights, yet, I’m critical of modern day feminism. Then again, I can see that, without going to the fringes, feminists can do good. I haven’t been actively involved in feminist activism or anything (I used to get quite involved on – line, but not anymore). I think if you take away the blown up statistics, the seeming exclusion of minorities, especially the plight of ATSI women, hypocrisy, etc, then I guess you could say, yeah, I am a feminist. It’s not perfect by any means, and like I said, there are people that give it a bad name, but I don’t think the overall cause in and of itself isn’t bad. If we, including me, as feminist can drop the double – standards, triviality and stand up for all women, then I think feminism can be made even better.

 

What are you? Feminist? Anti – feminist or something else? Who are feminists past or present that you respect?

“Sexual prowess” – a win for feminism?

On women’s site Ravishly, Annie Walton Doyle wrote an article praising the girls featured in the reality TV show “Geordie Shore” as being “unlikely paragons of sex positivity”. Doyle writes:

The reason why I love and respect the women of the show is their openness and hilariousness about sex. Their portrayal of sexuality not only as power, but even as a weapon is commendable.

Really?

I’ve seen Geordie Shore before. Not my cup of tea, and frankly, I didn’t find anything really powerful about it. I don’t give two hoots if people want to have (consensual) sex, but… I mean “dismantling of masculinity”? If the genders were reversed, wouldn’t it be seen as sexist?

Secondly, how is this going to translate in real life – both for the women featured on the show and more broadly? Something tells me that it won’t cause a new sexual and women’s liberation revolution, to be honest. It’s not just the sex thing, it’s the whole lack of self – respect that so many of the people on the show, (both men and women), seem  to have (from parts I’ve seen in the past). That’s why I doubt that it’ll translate to empowerment of women.

 

I get Doyle’s criticism that for too long, women have been unfairly shamed and marginalised because of their sexuality. I get that. But to me, women bragging about treating men the way that men would be crucified for if they treated women a similar way, is not feminism and, quite frankly, not empowering. Let’s celebrate women’s achievements, support them in their goals and as well give women sexual freedom and autonomy without reverse sexism. Otherwise, I can’t help but fear that these cheap shots will only stagnate feminism. Or worse, send feminism backwards.

What do you think about the show “Geordie Shore”? Do you agree with Annie Walton Doyle?