Wednesday, 31 October 2012

What IS feminism?

I have always been intrigued by the 'concept' of feminism and I guess as a woman, it is a term that cannot be avoided and must in some sense be reflected upon. Gosh, that's a very pompous sounding introduction, isn't it?!! What IS feminism and is it a good thing?

Of course, we have come a long way since the perception of bra burning, hairy armpitted hemp and cheesecloth procurers of the past - or have we?? It seems that if you are a woman in the public eye and you comment upon an issue involving women - i.e. Page 3; if you are opposed to such a neanderthal idea that women with their breasts exposed is news then you are called to task for being 'ugly' 'fat' 'frigid' as happened to MP Claire Short a few years back - and seems to happen regularly upon online debates of the issue. Watching This Morning recently, there was a debate about the issue and the woman who was against Page 3 - and who was, incidentally, very attractive - was accused (on twitter) of, amongst other things, being 'repressed' and 'frigid'. So, they couldn't diss her looks but clearly she has personality defects if she doesn't want tits with her cornflakes. Hmm...

One thing that does stick in my craw about the whole feminism debate is that as a woman, if you criticise other women, it is 'anti feminist' - goes against the so called 'sisterhood'. So, as a woman, if I express the opinion that perhaps Kylie might like to lay off the botox then I am somehow doing the sisterhood a disservice? If I say that Victoria Beckham needs a ginsters pasty? If I say that Katie Hopkins from The Apprentice is inutterably vile then I am 'anti feminist'? What rot. Women are just as fallible and critical as men and having opinions is surely a healthy thing? Should we button it and just up the ante on the man bashing? (Oh aren't they all bloody useless bless them - I mean, how would they cope with periods)??

I was very interested to read this article recently:

I think it's a pretty well written article and interestingly criticises the current feminist 'poster girl' - my girl crush Caitlin Moran. Her book 'How to be a Woman' has been huge and was a cracking read. I must admit, I was surprised at her tweet about the 'Girls' show and multi culturalism IS a huge issue that should not be shoehorned: Feminists are not just white middle class Oxbridge attendees...  Unfortunately, Dr Magnati does lose some of my respect by then going on to mention my nemesis Katie Price. CAN Katie Price and her ilk be feminists or indeed feminist role models? IMHO, no they bloody well can't. Price is infamous and if you judge success purely in monetary terms then she has been bloody successful. However, that success is purely attributed to her selling every grubby little aspect of her life - her tits, her fanny, her partners, her sex tape. This led to several offshoots of the brand - the ghostwritten books, the clothing tat - blah blah blah. Young girls now aspire to be like Price. Hey, don't bother with an education, just get your boobs enlarged, get a trout pout, sleep with a footballer and hey presto - you're a millionaire! Of course, Price isn't the only one who has done this but she has set a precedent and if I had a daughter I would be HORRIFIED if she wanted to be anything like this woman. Am I anti feminist for 'hating' on Price? No I bloody well am not - I'm a sentient human being with an opinion. (Of course, Dr Magnati herself has made mega bucks from sex but she is also hugely academic - does that make her any better? - Not really).... C'mon - this is a HUGELY clever woman who to 'make ends meet', sold her body for sex. That's not progress - that's the oldest profession in the book! (I'm not criticising prostitution per se - and I know many women have no choice - but if you HAVE the choice - that's different).

Feminism has allowed us women many advantages and to progress in the workplace - which is fab - but increasingly men are finding it tough. Interestingly (and sadly), suicide rates in the UK are now highest amongst young men between 19-24 who are feeling increasingly disenfranchised. Women can have kids now with no male presence required! Yes, there are still huge dichotomies in the workplace - i.e. pay - but is feminism 'helpful'? Does making the other sex feel increasingly alienated help? I'm not sure it does.. Perhaps there has to be a better way.