I’ve had many conversations with people who complain about the word Feminism.
The most frustrating are those white, cis gendered, straight men, who don’t feel represented under the banner of Feminism because they believe Feminism is only about women, and, in a world where so much attention is lavished on male-only arenas1, this is somehow unfair.
If they’ve decided to make an effort for the cause, the conversation usually devolves to them complaining that Feminists never make them feel welcomed – and of course not feeling welcomed & their feelings of being ostracised can’t possibly be because they, themselves, are doing something to deserve being levelled.
They, in my experience, tend to then tell Feminists that if Feminists want to effect change, they are going about it the wrong way. This is kind of an odd accusation. It’s a white, cis gendered, straight man telling a group that doesn’t represent them how to do things better for them.
I mean, I know narcissism is a thing, but that is kind of ridiculous.
It also implies that Feminism should take into account the feelings of said cis gendered, straight men – which is a bit rich, considering more often than not they’ve wandered into a Feminist space and said something hurtful or inconsiderate. Then, instead of examining what they might have done to incite fury, they immediately lay the demand for change at the feet of someone else.
That’s… not how this works.
I read something recently that said that Feminists shouldn’t pander to cws men (in particular) who demand everything be stopped so that they can have an explanation and, in effect, be up to date/included on the conversation. This post is kind of in agreement with that. There’s something very backwards to pandering to people who want information spoon-fed. Feminists are not responsible for the education of everyone – we are too busy pushing for change to be spending time educating people on why.
There are many people I just tell to fuck off. I have limited energy explaining why their unexamined notions are so silly and hurtful – mostly I reserve it for my mates and people that I have within my social sphere; people I care about and value.
A friend of mine who I had a go at had a go back at me because he felt like I was “targetting” him. I denied it at the time but it’s true in a way, I suppose. I want my friends to be better people and I know they’re capable of it. I get surprised and hurt when they can’t see what they’re doing to me. I get surprised and hurt when I tell them that I don’t want to exist in a space that hurts me, they have a go.
My point is, I suppose, is that misogyny & patriarchy is a deeply self protecting thing that has instilled in us all the ability to demean, belittle, dismiss, side track and slander the word Feminist and the voice/opinions Feminists.
(Part two coming)
1 So, SO MANY sporting events, political domains, the media, Gentlemen’s clubs like the Australia Club. Compare a male soccer salary to a females, compare the slander of Gillard to Abbott. Tell to me one high powered club the level and prestige of the Australia Club catering exclusively to females and I will eat my hat.
For the second part in this two part series, click here