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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

I am a feminist. I'm also more.

"If feminism wasn't powerful, if feminism wasn't influential, people wouldn't spend so much time putting it down."
Jessica Valenti

I saw this video 'Lauren Southern: Why I'm not a feminist' today on my Facebook feed. Someone had shared it from a page called Only For Men and the video was posted with the caption 'Girl DESTROYS feminism in 3 minutes!' I rolled my eyes and gave it a watch. I mean, I'm always up for learning. And admittedly in my teens I'd said the same thing but more on that later. If you haven't seen the video you might want to give it a watch before I continue.


Hi? You back? Well lets continue! As I said, in my teens I may have uttered the same phrase. I'm embarrassed to admit it now but I also think it was an important part of my growth as a person and becoming the liberal and equality driven person I am today.

In Lauren's video she makes the point that all feminists only care about women's issues. We're all the same and by labelling ourselves feminists we turn a blind eye to the issues and inequalities suffered by other genders. (Even if the only other gender she talks about is male... which is another issue.) She makes this sweeping generalisation of all feminists while accusing us of doing the same to men. For me this voids her whole argument. I just can't with blind hypocrisy. I mean, when I'm being a hypocrite I at least have the decency to point it out.

Lauren seems to be under the impression - like many I've come across - that you can only care about one issue or one section of society at a time. I too was under this misguided impression when I was ignorant. Before I adopted the label 'feminist' I felt like as a person with a disability the oppression and issues I faced as a woman paled in comparison. I know how ridiculous that sounds now but that's how I felt. It didn't help that back in my pre-internet days the only feminists I was exposed to were the the more controversial and extreme ones that were on television every now and again. I guess they make better TV? But I just didn't feel like I could relate to them. This idea got me thinking. I have never seen anyone say you shouldn't be a disability rights advocate because it gives the impression you don't care about the issues faced by non-disabled people. I've never seen someone say you shouldn't be an animal rights activist because it implies you don't care about the issues faced by humans. The list continues. So why are we feminists told time and time again that our movement as a whole promotes inequality?

The reality is Lauren isn't actually doing anything positive with this video. All she is doing is making a sweeping generalisation and perpetuating damaging stereotypes. And as such turning women, men and others away from a movement that she will ultimately benefit from.

I'm Sara. I care about disability rights. Animal rights. LGBTQ rights. Issues faced by people of colour. Issues faced by men. Issues faced by non-binary genders and more. I care about equality.

I am a feminist.

3 comments:

  1. I kinda just wanna "woop"! This is an amazing piece and I completely agree. Great post Sara!

    Morgan
    www.therosequartz.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an amazing post! I agree completely with what you said. I haven't seen Lauren's video before but while watching it, the same thoughts as you described went through my head. Just recently I talked with a female friend about feminism. She had just made a mean comment about feminists and I just told her that I consider myself a feminist. She then went on in a similar way as Lauren, with saying that feminism is not about equality. We couldn't find a common ground in the end, but it just reminded me again of how most people see feminism. To me it is about equality because it strives after giving women the same rights as men. Of course, men and other genders have their issues as well, but does that mean that we cannot wish for more equality for women? I think this is hypocritical.
    It just makes me sad that messages like Lauren's get more heard and are viewed without critique by most of the people, while messages from feminists are always talked down without even hearing them properly.
    Patti Shifting Tales

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