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Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

June 25, 2013

There’s a campaign that’s come to my attention of late that’s that poses the question ‘I Need Feminism Because…’.  It seems to consist of various people (not just women of course, there are plenty of male feminists in this world of ours) holding up a sign with that intro followed by something from their own personal experience that highlights the importance of the battle for equality between the sexes.  It understand the campaign garnered a lot of initial momentum on something called Tumblr (which is apparently not a social networking site for circus acrobats as I had previously thought) but recently I’ve been seeing it a lot on Facebook too, hence my sudden awareness of it.

I made a point of not engaging with it at first.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully behind the goals of feminism (as I understand them) and I’m 100%  for equality.  My problem is that I’ve got one or two philosophical differences with the approach taken by some feminists who, in my opinion, sometimes take it too far. But when friends of mine are bearing their souls and standing up for a cause they believe in I don’t think it’s particularly big and clever to charge into some online flame war with ’em. It might start off as a reasonable and adult debate, but when a subject so emotive is combined with the sense of separation from the person you’re dealing with that the internet gives one, then things can escalate surprising quickly.  So I’ve decided to retreat here, to my own cosy little corner of the wibbly wobbly web to elucidate on my views further.

First, a disclaimer just in case any of you are mentally drafting hate-mail or trying to think of a way to find my address so you can smash my patriarchal, misogynist windows – I’m all about the equality. I’m not about to launch into some crap about how disadvantaged us poor white heterosexual males are these days or any of that bollocks.  Just hear me out.

OK.  Here goes.

I need feminism because… well, actually I don’t.

By which I mean I need something else. Something more than feminism. Yes, an ideal that rails against the ludicrous idea that a section of the human race should be discriminated against because of the arrangement of their genitals (whichever arrangement they happen to possess) is a good thing. But we need more than that. We also need an ideal that says people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of what they do with said genitals. Nor should they be discriminated against because of what colour those genitals are, how old they are, if they’ve been swapped for another set or whether or not they’ve had slight religious modification, if you follow my drift. And then, once we are being all inclusive and whatnot, we need to mention the tricky issue of labels. 

MMA legend, J-Pop impresario, messenger of hope - is there anything Genki Sudo can't do?

MMA legend, J-Pop impresario, messenger of hope – is there anything Genki Sudo can’t do?

From what I’ve been learning about this type of thing over the last few days I think my hope for equality across all lines of discrimination makes me some kind of ‘Intersectionalist’ who’s more interested in the ‘Kyriarchy’ rather than the ‘Patriarchy’ or something along those lines anyway.  I might be using those terms in completely the wrong context, but I guess that’s the heart of my issue.  There’s just too many damn labels, factions, subgroups and what have you.  Labels are divisive. Labels and arguments over labels and their definitions can, in my experience, all too often can get in the way of what counts. I mentioned earlier that there’s some aspects of feminism I take issue with – there are occasions when people can take it too far. What we should be about is equality, not having a go at me purely for the crime of owning a penis. Now, this is strictly a small minority of feminists as the vast, vast majority of them that I’ve met are perfectly reasonable people simply trying to combat a genuine injustice. But it’s all to easy for nay-sayers and to lump the reasonable people in with the extremes, and use it as a handy way to dismiss them.  Such is the power of labels. 

So rather than feminism I need something bigger and, if I may, better. Something accessible, understandable, inclusive and less easy to argue against based on the unreasonable actions of a half-baked minority. I suppose you could call it egalitarianism or humanism if you like, but then they’re just more labels for politics or philosophy students to argue over and labels are what I’m trying to avoid. I prefer to simply call it ‘not being an arsehole’. .These days when I find myself considering discriminating against someone because of their gender, race, sexuality or whatever I simply ask myself ‘if I do this will I be acting like a right arsehole?’ The answer is almost invariably yes, so I don’t do it.  Now that’s a philosophy that’s hard to argue against. Of course I’m not perfect when it comes to not being an arsehole and I don’t always get it right, but I try my best. My best isn’t always good enough but I’d like to think my best is slowly getting better, and that’s about as much a chap can hope for in these turbulent modern times. 

You might agree with me, you might think I’m talking out of my backside.  That’s fine by me – I’ve been wrong before in my life and I’ll be wrong again in the future, and I might turn out to be wrong here as well.  And you might think I’m some horrible misogynist fiend or maybe you’ll think I’m some kind of hippy commie leftist.  Maybe I’m just a white-middle class chump who needs to check his privilege or something. Hopefully I’m none of those things. Hopefully I’m just a  bloke who’s trying to treat people right in the possibly over-optimistic hope that they’ll treat me right in return. At then end of the day I’m just going to keep on trying to live my life in the spirit of the wise prophets known as Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan.

“Be excellent to each other.’

‘Party on, dudes.’

Peace out.


From → Musings

  1. lkeke permalink

    There’s already a basic rule about this and it was crafted quite some time ago. I’m not a religious type person but the adage : Do unto others as you would like done unto you certainly fits. Or better yet in the US we call it the golden rule : Treat everyone the way you would like everyone to treat you. I absolutely do not understand people who have difficulty with either concept.

    • I really do think it should be that simple. Camps, factions, sub-factions, blocs, sects, philosophies, labels and what have you wouldn’t be necessary if people just treated each other like human beings.

      Optimistic? Maybe. Unreasonable? I think not.

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