Feminists have no more issues to “fight”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

By William Rickards

When President Obama said in his State of the Union address in January that women make 77 cents to the dollar that men make, and compared some workplace policies in America to the show Mad Men, it was not without a deal of fact checking and blow back. From CBS to even the extremely liberal Huffington Post (who framed the article around one study done by feminists to disprove the statistic) the statistic was largely hailed as an exaggeration at best. So why does President Obama persist in a PR battle to make women look like the victims of a horrible discriminatory practice? Because Western feminism in the modern world has no real issues left to fight.

Of course, even if it were found that women were close to equal wage to men when accounting for time taken off, job title, years of experience, education, and you know, anything else of real importance when you make statistics, and even if you found out that the problem of getting women into STEM fields was a global struggle, there are still paramount issues that face modern day feminists right?! The patriarchy must be smashed! Gender equality must be achieved!

But where is modern feminism’s mountain? What uphill battle for equality do they have left to fight? Or maybe it is necessary that these crusaders face an even harsher reality: they’re running out of “oppression fuel”.

The 1980’s seemed like a great time for oppression. In those days, there definitely WAS a gender wage gap. Studies conducted by feminist Mary Koss which claimed 1 in 4 women on college campuses were victims of rape were published (ignore that this study is now taught in college courses as how NOT to do research). But hey, where there is oppression in a first world county with freedom of speech, there is always (ideally) a healthy group of people to fight against it, even a trendy counter culture. The trend has continued today, even though the brunt of the issues hasn’t.

Rape, for instance, from 1970 to 2005 took a 85 percent drop, according to federal crime data, and doesn’t seem to be stopping. This downward trend seems to be of little consequence to those who would push for the cause of equality, because there still remains the perpetual idea of rape culture.

Rape culture is the idea that society, particularly western society, pushes to normalize and perpetuate rape of women in the media and, by that extent, the culture. The idea of rape culture is the mountain that modern feminists are fighting against and it’s more of a molehill.

A recent article on rollreboot.org, recently attempted to outline what exactly rape culture entailed:

“…there does exist parts of the world where true oppression still lingers.”

“Rape culture is…

1. A university in Canada that allows the following student orientation chant: “Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass.”

2. Pop music that tells women “you know you want it” because of these “blurred lines” (of consent).

3. A judge who sentenced a 50-year-old man to only 30 days in jail after raping a 14-year-old girl (who later committed suicide), and defended himself by saying that the girl was “older than her chronological age.”

4. Mothers who blame girls for posting sexy selfies and leading their sons into sin, instead of talking with their sons about their responsibility for their own sexual expression.”

This is what the feminist cause has been reduced to, a vitriolic fight against isolated instances of bad parenting and critique of pop music? Even the very serious point of the man who got 30 days in jail for statutory rape is cherry picked. For example, Star Ledger did an analysis of sex crimes in New Jersey and found that men get higher jail times for statutory rape charges.

The fact is that feminism has become less about social change and more about a fashion statement. Counter culture is the new culture and everyone wants to be in vogue. This new brand of feminism focuses on a vague problem and offers an easy solution. Actual thought and writing is reduced to a retweet. Real discussion is shunned as an attitude of “I don’t need to teach you anything” is perpetuated. The new feminist cause can be fought by reposting an article from Buzzfeed or Thought Catalog to your Facebook. Armchair activism has become the stylish thing to do, but it is all hot air and impotent rage at a problem that will never go away. Even the “problem” of inequality as it exists is an impossible pipe dream. “Free Pussy Riot” is the new chant, Tumblr is the new battleground

It is in this sense that we must reject the voices of this new wave. More made up problems and “oppression fuel” don’t always end with an article or an angry blog post. Made up oppression and vitriol can express themselves in political action. Feminist’s natural allies are liberals, who constantly seek government intervention to fix the perceived problems of society. In reality, we have to look no further than the Presidents State of the Union speech.

It is important to remember that while western feminists throw around the word “oppression” for cat calling and bad songs, there does exist parts of the world where true oppression still lingers. Just ask the now famous Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban extremists while protesting for women’s right to education in the Middle East.

Stories like Malala’s should be a wakeup call to modern, western feminists of what true oppression looks like and where exactly they should be focusing their attention

And it isn’t on Robin Thicke.

Contact William Rickards at 

communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

 


 

Why feminism isn’t dying out

 

By Adrienne Keer

A few weeks ago, our own William Rickards wrote an article about how feminism has no real issues left. Being the resident feminist of the senior staff, I was quite taken aback by that statement.

His first point was the issue of equal pay, something that we’re still fighting for. Women are angry that we make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, and with good reason. If we’re doing the same job, we should be receiving the same pay.

There’s also the issue of hiring and promotions. When up against a man, women are less likely to be hired or promoted, even if they may be more qualified for the position.

I would find it amusing that he thinks we have no issues to fight for, but I take feminism too seriously to make jokes about it.

His main point in the article is that women are fighting a molehill that comes in the form of rape culture. For those who don’t know what rape culture is, it’s a term coined by feminists in the 1970s. It’s a culture where sexual violence is considered the norm, and people are taught how not to be raped, instead of being taught not to rape. It’s the idea that no really means yes, and that women have no power in social situations.

Rape culture teaches women preventative measures, such as what not to wear, what not to do, and when not to go out, while simultaneously taking responsibility away from men. It gives women a long set of “rules” to follow, and tells them it’s their fault if something happens to them.

What rape culture does is throw shame on women who don’t follow the “rules” and treats them as if they’re in the wrong.

Take a look at the Steubenville High School case and you’ll see a prime example. A girl was raped by two football players after she passed out from drinking. They took photos and videos of her, and bragged about the crime on different social networks. When this happened, everyone took the boys’ side and bullied her about how she ruined their reputations.

As if that weren’t bad enough, a man who heard about it brought national attention to the case because he didn’t like that it was being ignored. After outing the crime on the football team’s website, he was given more jail time than the actual rapists.

Steubenville isn’t the first high school to experience this. Maryville High School had the same issue when fourteen year old Daisy Coleman was raped after she passed out at party. Not only were both girls ruthlessly bullied for drinking, they were blamed for ruining the reputation of the rapists.

What girls learned from these cases is that even if a girl is raped, she can still be in the wrong for drinking, or dressing provocatively, while the guy gets off with a slap on the wrist. If they don’t make you wonder why almost an entire community would rally against the victims, then it really should.

To Rickards, rape culture may sound like a series of isolated incidents, but it’s something that’s much more widespread than people realize.

It affects behavior in social settings to the point where girls and women have to constantly be on their guard when they go out at night, lest they get targeted and later on blamed for their own assault.

Street harassment (also known as cat-calling) is a big part of rape culture. This happens almost daily for a good number of girls and women, and it’s actually a pretty big problem. If we don’t give you our attention or tell you off, we’re considered irrational for not taking a compliment. Calling us sweet names and going as far as yelling vulgar things at us isn’t flattering, it’s extremely rude and disrespectful.

There’s also the issue of slut shaming, which is when a girl is judged for not only her sex life, but how she carries herself. If a girl goes out and sleeps with a guy she thinks is cute, she’s labeled as slutty or dirty, while the guy walks away with nothing. If she dresses in a revealing way, she gets the same label.

Sexism still plays such a large role in society that these things are a major problem. Instead of teaching men to respect women and their decisions, we’re taught that we’re in the wrong for saying no. We’re taught not to dismiss or call them out on their behavior, or we’re labeled as irrational. We’re taught that we should be ashamed of our own bodies, because men feel the need to objectify them.

What a lot of people don’t know is that sexism and rape culture also has an effect on men as well as women. It tells society that all men are incapable of controlling themselves around women in certain situations and will attack at any moment. If being compared to a crazed animal doesn’t offend men, then it definitely should. The thing with this is, it should motivate men to change the way society views them, and work on eliminating these negative ways of thinking.

Obviously not all men are like this, and there is a good majority that do have common decency. However, there are still enough men out there that use sexism and rape culture to their advantage.

To be honest, when I hear about men getting upset about these things being brought up, it automatically makes me label them as part of the problem. The sad thing is that a majority of the time I mention feminism around guys, they act like it’s some stupid cause whose only purpose is to bash men. This is not the case.

While Rickards is right about us aiming to smash the patriarchy, it’s not about hating men. Feminism aims to educate the public on the things women and even men experience on a regular basis. With most feminists, there’s no impotent rage or refusal to talk about why we’re angry about sexism and rape culture. If you experience this when bringing up the subject, you’re not talking to a true feminist, just some angry person looking to pick a fight.

A true feminist will have no problem educating you on why they feel feminism is important, and will only get angry if you dismiss their feelings or make everything about you.

We still have plenty of issues to fight, and we’re going to keep on fighting them whether you think they’re important or not.

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