“Feminism is shouting, but the movement is a whisper.”
Every time I hear the word feminism, my life expectancy decreases. The movement is hot in the headlines and has invaded the internet, sparking at times very unpleasant and divisive debates about gender inequality. However, if you take a step back and pause for long enough, it becomes apparent that the movement is in a terrible condition. In 2014 especially, feminism has had very little impact. If we look back further, to the start of the 21st century, it becomes apparent that behind all of the talk lies a disjointed, poorly represented section of society with an unenviable skill for alienating all of the wrong people.
“Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man hating”
Indeed, alienating people is feminism’s Number One problem. Since starting university, I have had several heated arguments with feminists, some of which have been extremely traumatic experiences. Rather than engage in a rational and reasoned discussion, such individuals advertise the issue in spectacular fashion; shouting at me until I gave up. Of course, such individuals do not represent all feminists in Britain. What they do represent, however, is the majority of the movement’s media attention. Herein lies the problem. These loud and angry feminists alienate men by making them feel responsible, as individuals, for all of women’s problems and they alienate women because real equality supporters do not want to be associated with this brand.
The fundamental flaws of the modern movement are not reserved to those I have branded “loud and angry”. Unfortunately, it is the more famous faces of feminism who have pulled the plug on this ship. The outstanding example is the Labour Party’s insistence on using ‘all-female shortlists’ to increase the number of female members of parliament. What this means, essentially, is that their solution to sexism is sexism. Policies like this are truly wonderful at alienating people from feminism. All we need now is all-homosexual shortlists, or all-left-handed constituencies and the world will be a truly wonderful fountain of equality.
“In recent years men have begun to stand up in facing inequalities and discrimination faced by women”
Can feminism really be in such bad shape because of a few loud mouths and a political policy most people have probably never
heard of? Well, I’m glad you asked actually. The gun which fired the fatal shot belongs to the annoyingly naive Emma Watson and the painstakingly embarrassing ‘HeForShe’ campaign. Miss Watson climbed aboard her moral high horse and declared “We want to end gender inequality.” What her campaign actually means, if you cannot guess from its cringe worthy title, is something closer to this; we are going to fight for women’s rights and want men to help us do this. What the campaign fails to acknowledge, and the central reason why feminism is all but dead and buried, is that men suffer from gender discrimination too. I smile at the irony that one of the most recent law changes regarding gender inequality was introduced to protect men; you may remember we were financially discriminated against by car insurance companies. Here is the central point. Feminism is struggling to make a difference because the people who represent it, be it the loud mouths or Hermione Granger, alienate too many people.
The fight has got to be for gender equality. We can only make a real difference if we work as one in an intelligent, inclusive manner. This means no more demonising men. It means no more ignoring the plight of women and the difficulties faced by men. It means no more feminism. Gender equality is about ending the discrimination, in its many forms, which is directed at all genders.