Chapter 41 ~ #Feminism

On October 5th, 2017, a man by the name of Harvey Weinstein was called out in an investigation by The New York Times for three decades worth of sexually deviant behavior.  Harvey, a very powerful and well known film producer in Hollywood… was implicated in more than a dozen instances of sexual harassment and three seperate accounts of rape. Five days later, Ronan Farrow, a contributing writer for The New Yorker, broke another investigative story addressing allegations by, models and senior female executives who had stepped forward with damning evidence of sexual misconduct and threats of destroyed careers. The scandal was widespread and layered, incriminating not only Harvey, but chief executives at both Miramax, The Weinstein Company and beyond.  Overnight, the shroud that had covered the elite in Hollywood had been ripped aside, exposing a mess of patriarchal beliefs and a system that still supported oppression based on gender… ideals long since thought to have been obliterated from our liberated Western culture.

The online world exploded…. BOOM!!!

On October 15th, after a wave of allegations had ripped up the red carpet of Hollywood and exposed everything that had been swept underneath… actress and activist, Alyssa Milano, tweeted out:

“If all the women who have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, then we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

From one Tweet, the #MeToo Movement was born (educated women would know this was actually a rebirth) and the Weinstein Ripple Effect went viral, with hundreds of thousands of women chiming in with their own versions of “Me Too,” creating a renaissance in #feminism.  These new pilgrims for Women’s Rights expanded virtual space with witty, Westernized, powerful and often irritating FaceBook messages, Instagram posts and blogs on contemporary women’s continued battle against oppression, sexual harassment, abuse of power and the corrupt unyielding world of MEN.

This new brand of #feminism contained all the familiar elements of the centennial generation.  The stories broadcast by hyper influential Hollywood were compelling, engaging and incited a sisterhood that hadn’t been seen since the second movement in feminism.  However, unlike the slow battles of Germaine Greer, Norma McCorvey and Betty Friedan… social media gave an instant and impactful voice to the women of the #MeTooMovement.  A plethora of stories took over social feeds feeding the masses both sense and bullshit – characteristic of a generation of keyboard warriors and the growing rise of s slacktivism. There were marches, parades, protests and a rise in women feeling mighty, newly heard and most importantly connected to one another in a stance against a patriarchal society that was still (despite the efforts of the women before them) suffocating the upper echelon of Hollywood, government, academia and beyond.

There it is… the fourth wave of #feminism in a nutshell and up until this modern resurgence brought on by the power of social media and the world wide web… I totally identified as a feminist.

And why not?

I firmly believe I can carte blanche stick my middle finger up at convention… expectation… good behaviour… et cetera et cetera.  Feminism has always made me feel comfortable ranting for equality, an undefined family unit, the ability to own one’s own mind, body and soul… and yes sometimes I even plait daisies through my hair, just to be more authentic in a movement that truly did so much.

The opportunity to be the best version of me… that is what #feminism is to me… 

Well, that and talking loudly about period blood in public…

The thing is, this new form of #feminism that was started on a campaign created to educate, inform and empower has become nothing more than the opportunity to form politically stunted, uneducated, shit show-esque, very righteous opinions.  It has created a version of the feminist that is weak, unauthentic and for lack of a better word… hypocritical.

Sidebar: Before I delve into what I feel is sound reasoning, I need to be very clear and concise when I state that any form of harassment… physical, emotional or spiritual… is completely unacceptable.  I despise abuse, domestic or otherwise and believe that women AND men should be able to live their lives feeling safe always… and a basic human right.  

ANYWHO… here it goes…

  1. I am all for the empowerment of women.  I am also all for a sisterhood where you celebrate each other’s successes, find support in a like minded group in times of need, sadness or insecurity.  To stand by one another and be honest about your own glaring flaws and fuckups without tearing down someone else for their own imperfections or opinions that are different than your own. The #MeTooMovement was incredibly timely and important for justice and women’s rights… (again… I am not in any way trying to underplay the positive outcomes of the movement) however, it has ignited something else in women – feeling the right to vindication merely because you are a woman. The pioneers of feminism stepped out of their comfort zone… and suffered greatly for asking for equality.  It was public and messy and more often than not – their arguments were lost. Today – we can harness the privacy of the internet to start a cause of any kind and get actual traction – by merely sitting behind a keyboard and being able to say absolutely anything – unchecked. This unfettered rah rahing has yes, brought down the evil doers… but it has also permitted us to propagate hate as a team event. Women who see not just men… but WOMEN as competition or a threat are gaslighting behaviour that seeks to destroy and conquer. I am sorry ladies… en masse… call it whatever you like… but asking me to capitulate that this type of behaviour is feminism… one that sets us against each other… is a joke. It is regressive, painful and just one reason, of many, why the inequality and sexism that we scream to be abolished from our lives, still exists.  You don’t have to agree with each other’s life choices and I have said this before… there has to be a middle ground where someone disagrees with you and you get the fuck over it. You don’t have to hate her or him. One person’s affirmation of their life choices is not the negation of your existence as a woman or otherwise. Be better than that…  
  2. #Feminism on a whole has become a lot like my highschool years, when I was listening to Nirvana and everyone else in my small town was jamming to country music or New Kids on the Block and I thought I was so hip and unique (well maybe not hip but eclectic if nothing else).  Then I went to University and realized that everyone was in fact listening to Nirvana and I wasn’t special at all. What’s the point of #feminism if everyone’s doing it? There is a way to express femininity and independence and strength without going for the low hanging fruit, which unfortunately many “feminists” have turned to – with social media and on a larger scale the internet in general.  If you are going to fight for something you believe in… learn how to have an intelligent argument… and understand that you are never going to have everyone side with you or believe you and you know what? That is ok! The fact that you CAN argue your point and do so with grace is #FEMINISM at its finest.  

To be quite frank, I have been loathe to identify with this new wave of media-hyped feminism. The alternative, however, is not an option.  I still maintain at the core of my dark little mortal soul, the conviction of feminism as a principle. Do exactly as you want to do. Acceptance for equality in all things.  Wanting a kinder, happier, more peaceful home and planet, for EVERYONE. So the problem is, how do I stand my ground and yet still divide myself from the mewling… minivan majority… rampaging herd?

Not to worry my loveries… I figured it out. The proverbial loophole.  

I follow a few people who identify as modern day feminists, and there are two kinds that are impossible to ignore.  The first is I am single and fabulous! I don’t need a man! I have my squad and I am having the time of my life! The other is continually speaking to the support of a boyfriend/husband and would never be where they are without one.

I’m not going to quote anyone directly here, and not just because I can’t be arsed to rifle through Tweets, IGrams, FaceBook posts and blogs at this hour of the night…  I also believe directly quoting someone and then mocking them is very bad form, outside of politics and academia (yes, even though I just came dangerously close to doing so myself).

It makes one seem like a pompous twat… 

First of all for those of you who are single and rah raging about being single and ever so happy about the lack of man in your life… please know that I think you are lying.  

Trust me, I know (and so do you if you’ve been reading between the lines of the words I’ve composed here over the past few months).  You are lonely. End of story and that in itself is okay, but don’t mask it as something that it is not. Being single IS fantastic for a lot of reasons which I have listed for the better part of a decade… and will continue to find moments of joy in.  This obvious gross self promotion aside… I can also say without hesitation that I am not only able but enjoy taking a meal at a restaurant alone… a glass of wine and a book on a patio without feeling self conscious… and have zero time to entertain bandwagoning the take down of another woman because I am jealous, bored, insecure or just a gossipy cunt.  Recognizing that there are two sides to every story and taking the higher ground ALWAYS.  This makes me a feminist. Doing EXACTLY what I want to do and being comfortable in my own choices. For those of you ladies who are all about being “strong feminists” but CANNOT be alone…. I am sorry sad lady Jane but this is not #feminism. If you are constantly puking out your sad story of victimization or rejection and following it up with “I got this” rhetoric all over your social feeds… this is not #feminism.  Yes! Seek justice! Yes, fight the good fight!  Married a cad… get a divorce!  Do not rally the troops under an umbrella of #feminism disguised as hate and one sided information and another human. This is not #feminism… this is a witch hunt and well… we all know how that ended. And finally, please stop telling the world that you are your most authentic self… that you earned your laugh lines, your grey hairs and war wounds…. And then filter your face beyond recognition to hide the flaws and details that make you authentically you… sit the fuck down.  That is not #feminism. It is preparation for a dating app profile and also why women’s bodies are continually objectified.  You want to filter yourself because it makes you more secure… feel sexy… you love the attention?  Then DO IT!  Get after it!  Just don’t call it authentic or brand it as #feminism.

Do not worry my dear sweet martyrs wanting/having a boyfriend and/or wanting/being married I have case points as to why you are not committing to the cause of #feminism, either….

  1. It becomes a lot more difficult to do exactly what you want to when you’ve committed to a sexual relationship with a man and you might have to suck his willy when you’re on your period to stop him from making that horny sad face (we have all been here… do not deny it).  He is just being a dude. He is not trying to knock you off your GO WOMEN soapbox. If you enjoy it… good for you! You are doing exactly what you want to do and good for him… I am confident he will appreciate the effort. Caveat… if you participate just to placate your man… well… I am sorry my friend but you are taking a step back for #feminism every single time.
  2. Also, however independent you might pretend you are, you know that if you’re in a relationship, and you have a heavy bag, you will let your boyfriend carry it for you… same with the expectation of walking on the outside of the sidewalk and holding open that door for you…  thus shoring up deeply ingrained femininity equals physical weakness associations that your husband or boyfriend will have been subjected to throughout his life. See: you’re kind of betraying the cause here my loverlies.

Finally, contrary to all of us that have been deeply hurt by men… one, two or three scoundrels doesn’t make the entire lot of them bad, evil or sexist.  Most of them are just guys being guys (again I am not talking about raping and pillaging here). They are not taking a knock at your femininity because they don’t call you back (maybe an asshole but definitely not Satan incarnate).  Because they become interested in someone else (the grass is always greener… he will come back). Because they like it when you cook and clean for them (who doesn’t want someone to cook and clean for them?). None of the above or a multitude of other examples give you rhyme nor reason to cut down his character, take out torches and rally the troops to slander, and belittle him.  A real feminist would get the fuck over it… realize there are plenty of fish in the sea or that cooking and cleaning can be therauptic and let’s face it… SELF CARE is a feminist ideal.  

I’m not being divisive, nor am I attempting to slide by you some hypocritical stance.  I’m sure it’s totally possible to seek emancipation when you’re in love. It’s just that much harder to actively resist oppressive social norms when you’re voluntarily adhering to the one social convention that has contributed most directly to the oppression of your particular group throughout history…

In conclusion: 

  • Chivalry is not dead… it has just jumped back up its own ass… scared of being spit on… bullied or too worried to offer any assistance said gesture might be disrespecting you as a woman.  Wanting a man to open a door for you… help take the lid off of a jar because you just physically cannot do it OR rub your feet… does not make you anti-feminist – because you would do the same for him, no?  
  • Feminists do not hate men.  They hate inequality and if you cannot measure out the difference… get to the back of the bus…
  • Feminists do not see other females as competition.
  • Utilizing the new found empowerment that comes from being able to bash, gossip, slander and ruin people unchecked from behind a computer screen… makes you an asshole… not a feminist.  Be better than that. Utilize that empowerment to build each up… not tear each other down.

See… you don’t have to be single to be a feminist… but it certainly helps,

Heather Adele

~ Feature Image ‘Ask Wonderwoman About Her Feminist Agenda’ by Lucas Werneck

~ All artwork is property of the original artist

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