So, I was researching stuff on the internet for my third Bridget book (for “researching stuff” read “procrastinating”) and came across this whole “Women against Feminism” movement thing. Have you heard about it? I researched it a bit and realised that everyone is already talking about it. I’m late to the party as usual. If you haven’t heard about it have a look here.
There are loads of intellectual arguments discussing this all over the internet but I’m not smart enough to understand most of them. Assuming you don’t have a degree in Feminist Theory either let me give you the nuts and bolts. This group says that Feminism is bad. Basically, that’s the crux of it. They think that “feminist” means “misandrist ” (man hater to you and me). They post things like this photo.
Now, I don’t know how far out of context these quotes have been taken but they do sound preeeeeetty bad. I could see why if this is all you’ve ever been exposed to under the heading of “Feminism” why you might be against it. But this is the twenty-first century. With the internet the world is tiny. Why would these anti-feminist women not have a little gander around Google and see what else Feminism has to offer? You do that when you’re shopping for a new mobile phone, right? You look around for which service provider offers the best value for money or the plan that fits your needs. Why wouldn’t you do it before buying into an ideology? Or not buying into it if it's not your thing. But you have to understand what it is before you can say "Unlimited minutes? Nah, I'm more of a texter.".
Before we get any further, let me just state my own position here (in case you didn't see the title of this blog!) and so you know what direction I’m coming from. Personally, I think Feminism is good. I think we live in a world where we need Feminism. Not the beat-a-man-to-death-with-a-high-heel type Feminism, but Feminism that supports my right to get paid the same as a man if we did the same job to the same standard. My right to be treated equally.
I’ll be honest and say this group terrifies me. In my oh-so-humble opinion I think it’s shunting equality back a good few decades. And what saddens me the most is that there are women supporting it. You might disagree and that’s totally your right. But take a look at this picture.
The caption says that “Getting assaulted has nothing to do with the way you’re dressed when you’re so drunk you pass out in public! Grow up and stop blaming men for your irresponsible behaviour!” I wanted to type that out just in case however you’re viewing this post the image doesn’t display properly. Now, when I first read that I had to go back and read it again. And then again. Let’s deconstruct this a little, shall we? “Getting assaulted has nothing to do with the way you’re dressed …”. Yeah, ‘cause as a society we never judge people on how they dress! “Getting assaulted has nothing to do with the way you’re dressed when you’re so drunk you pass out in public!”. Ummm, what? So, if a nun in a habit passes out in the street from too much communion wine then she’s fair game? What if the nun passes out from heat exhaustion or because she’s on a hunger strike? Will the potential rapists walking past know that and leave her alone because she’s not passed out drunk? Like ...
Rapist 1: “Hey man, let’s rape this nun.”
Rapist 2: “No way, dude, she’s passed out because she’s on a sponsored hunger strike as a way to raise money for the homeless.”
Rapist 1: “How can you tell, man? She just looks unconscious to me.”
Rapist 2: “It’s in the posture.”
Rapist 1: “That’s such a selfless thing to do. Let’s get her in a taxi and make sure she gets home safe. What about her friend next to her?”
Rapist 2: “Oh, that one’s passed out from too much communion wine. How about we rape her while we’re waiting on the taxi for her friend, the not drunk nun?”
Rapist 1: “Multi-tasking, I like it.”
I mean … in what world?
Now to the last sentence: “Grow up and stop blaming men for your irresponsible behaviour!”. Ummm, double what? Stop blaming men for MY irresponsible behaviour? Ohhh, yeah, right. They must be referring to that super well known law that if you pass out drunk on the street any man who walks past you has to assault you. Regardless of whether he wants to or not, he has to. He has absolutely no choice in the matter. Because he couldn’t look down at you and think “I better put her in a taxi, she’s looking a little worse for wear …” or “I’ll grab her phone from her purse and try to call one of her friends or parents to come and get her …” or try to wake her up, or get the attention of the nearest bouncers. No. He has to assault. Yeah, they must be referring to that law.
I think that’s the scariest part of this caption because it removes the responsibility from the aggressor and places it squarely on the shoulders of the victim. It’s the perpetrator of the crime whose behaviour is the problem. It’s their behaviour that’s illegal. But this places the responsibility back on the victim and says “if you get raped it’s your fault”. Isn't that what we, as women, have been fighting against? Isn't that what all these "slut walks" are about?
It’s not your fault if your house is burgled or someone steals your car so why would it be your fault if you’re assaulted. Yes, if you leave your keys in the ignition you’ve made it easier for someone to steal it and your insurance company might not pay out. Similarly, if you’ve passed out drunk on the street you’ve made it easier for someone to assault you … but that does not mean they should – they are responsible for their own ILLEGAL behaviour – and it absolutely does not mean it’s your fault.
You can be the most responsible person in the world ninety-nine per cent of the time … but there’s always that one per cent when you’re on a night out, you didn’t have as much food as you thought, that last tequila hits you hard when you’re on your way to the taxi rank and you need to sit down. There’s that one per cent when you’re flirting up a storm with some guy and you suddenly realise that you’re still not really over your ex so you decide to call it a night. There’s that one per cent when you’ve worked out at the gym for three years straight to lose ten stone, you’ve bought the slinkiest dress you can find because you’re so proud of how far you’ve come and people judge you for it. None of this matters. None of it. All that matters is the person who assaults you is responsible for their own behaviour.
So please, the next time you come across someone, anyone, who calls themselves an anti-feminist, just explain to them what Feminism actually is and why they need it in their lives. In their daughter's life. In their sister's life. In their mother's life. Because without it Donald Trump would punish us for aborting the baby of our rapist.