I know, I know… My mind is exactly where yours is right now, picturing some ugly bird with a mole on her chin, in an unflattering outfit, holding a match to her bra, bitching about Playboy whilst simultaneously painting a picture of her breasts in a liberating expression of femininity.
Look, I am going to discuss feminism up in here. But… I don’t like that sanctimonious aul’ hag any more than you do. She’s extreme and impractical, either ignorant to or disregarding of the fact that she needs that bra to stop her boobies heading south for a chat with her bellybutton.
Aussie Feminist, Germaine Greer said this about bras: “Bras are a ludicrous invention, but if you make bralessness a rule, you’re just subjecting yourself to yet another repression. For some, the bra remains a symbol of restrictions imposed by society on women.”
Ludicrous?!How about this, Germaine, assuming you’re not quite a 32A, bin the bra and then go for a jog on the treadmill. Ludicrous still? Or proven essential? Personally, I like to wear a bra most days. Not only that but I’ll take all the support they can offer me. Full-cup? Yessir. wide bone? That’s the ticket! Three clasps at the back? Sold!
But anyways, I’ve digressed. Feminism is an issue that makes most modern women recoil in horror and embark on a passionate denial campaign. That’s thanks to the stereotypical notions of feminists as cranky, man-hating, hippies striving to be artists, poets, scholars and feckin’ electricians.
I am not a feminist. I think women have come too far to still be playing victims. Modern feminism is little more than a justification for women to fight for something that is already ours, something that was given to us by women like Emily Davison, the suffragette who was killed in 1913 when she threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in a display of martyrdom for women’s rights, of which we had few.
But we no longer have few. The suffragettes of the 20th century were the real feminists. The cause was real and the goal was immense. They changed the world. In the 1960s second-wave feminism exploded. The contraceptive pill was approved and a whole bunch of new issues arose. The hippies were ON IT! They tackled sexism and workplace discrimination. Big things, you guys. Big things. The women of yesteryear made it easy for us. They fought the fight so we could reap the benefits.
So why are we still not happy?
We are currently in the centre of what is known as “third-wave feminism”. Now, under-informed and unenthusiastic about the movement, I can only speak from personal opinion. And my personal opinion is that these modern feminists would want to take a step back and realise that women have never been so free. Neither have we ever been so powerful. 2012 is not the time to be crying about how difficult it is to be female.
Small yarn: My 20-year-old brother has been driving for five years. He passed his driving test first time. He drives a small but incredibly loud little Fiesta. And he is plagued by the guards. The kid is insured. He’s taxed. The car is NCT’d. He has a full-licence. He is, in all regards, completely within the law. Yet he is stopped by the Siochana frequently. His discs are checked. He is questioned. Sometimes searched. I, on the other hand, am 24-years old. I have been driving my little navy Yaris for two years. Like my brother, I am reliably law-abiding. Unlike my brother, I am left alone by the Guards. Rightly so. But the double standard, far as I’m concerned, seems to be gender focused. In the eyes of the Irish cop, a young dude like my brother has to be up to no good. Catching him on the roads provokes a full interrogation. I’ve been stopped on the roads once… Once… In two years. The guard made a bit of small talk, looked at my licence and sent me on my merry way. I’m a girl. Why would they bother interrogating me? It’s the lads they’re after.
Is not that sexism? Methinks so.
The fact is that we live in a time rife with strong women. Hillary Clinton. She came so close to being president that time. It’s gonna happen someday soon yo! A woman will be president of the United States. Lori Reynolds made headlines last year when she assumed the role of Commander of the USMC training headquarters at Parris Island. Julia Gillard became Prime Minister of Australia in 2010. More familiar faces like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Angelina Jolie. Women. Being. BOSS! The music industry too is dominated by women. Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Nicki Minaj and, my personal list-topper, Beyonce Knowles.
See, Beyonce’s got it right. Successful, beautiful, talented and savvy. She’s the biggest star in the world right now. She knows what she’s doing. Her priorities are set and all her ducks are in a row. She sang ‘Independent Women’ with Destiny’s Child and she meant it. Jay-Z has 99 problems but his bitch ain’t one. Beyonce shows us that you can have great strength and still be feminine. She voids the feministic idea that women should reject societal ideals; things like make-up, high-heels and embracing sexuality. Beyonce wears heels, she shows some skin and she runs the world (ish).
We don’t need angry old dolls bitching about porn and maternity leave, born into the wrong generation and tardy to the party by about forty years. Women, in the 21st century, well, we’re alright. I’m a firm believer that if one plays the victim, one will be the victim. If feminists could just quit the moaning and look around they’d see that they’re fighting a battle that has already been won. The audience has celebrated and moved on and they are left behind, full of resentment because they seem to now feel that women deserve superior rights to men.
I don’t believe that radical expression and lingering on issues past is doing anything for women. But I do believe in independence, in confidence and in doing and being anything you want, regardless of gender.
In Pink’s song, ‘Stupid Girls’, she comments on the abundant examples of unmotivated, under-achieving, conformist girls whose life goals include having bigger boobs and marrying into money. These chicks are everywhere. They wanna be WAGS, they love fancy handbags and they play dumb to make men feel more intelligent. They spend their childhood wanting to be vets and then, somewhere along the way, a lack of inspiration and/or proper guidance they come to believe that one’s goal in life should be marriage, money and children. The ambition of being a vet gets replaced with one of just wanting a husband who makes a decent wage. The sound of their dreams gets drowned out by the deafening tick of their biological clock. These girls do just about as much for women as the modern feminists do, reiterating clichés of women, setting us back and standing as utterly useless role models for the confused generation behind us.
Have you ever read any of the women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire? I think they’re behind this conflict between being a Courtney Stodden or a Tracy Emin. It was actually an article in Cosmopolitan that inspired this article/rant/nonsense. It was written by a dude who was giving out about men having to pay for everything on dates. Is he right or is he wrong? I’ve no idea really. But it made me think. In the same issue of Cosmo there was an article about how in order to succeed, women need to be pushier, like men. Few pages ahead, there’s an article listing the three things that men look for in a girl (1. you don’t flip out if you lose your phone. 2. you can sense if something’s wrong with him. 3. you tell funny, interesting stories about your day). Few pages ahead there’s an interview with Olympic athlete, Jessica Ennis. An article on how to firm up your body. Then an article called (and I’m dead serious with this) ‘What His Penis Wishes You Knew.’ Then an inspiring interview with “An Alpha Female”. It’s just all so inconsistent. Of course, it’s all silly fluff really, but there are women who read that stuff and think, “yeah, I wanna know what his penis wishes I knew!” We all know idiots like that.
But look, I’m not saying that I’m any kind of brilliant, independent, gung-ho maverick woman. I bought that magazine. And I read it cover to cover.
A few months back, I wrote a piece about my second year in college when I lived with four guys. It was awesome. I loved it. I loved them. We had a blast. When the year was up and third year rolled around, I was in an apartment with four other girls. It was not cool. They did not like me. I did not like them. We did not have a blast. When all was said and done I concluded that men have it right with their approach. They just don’t give a crap. A spade is a spade. They don’t feel hard done by as men. And they don’t care if we feel hard done by as women.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, why can’t we just be let be. I like being a girl. I like having long nails. I like styling my hair. I like high-heels. But I also like Discovery Channel documentaries. I like roaming the countryside with my dogs. I like video games. I believe in romance too but it’s not my be all and end all. I think if you take care of yourself, indulge your interests, chase your dreams and be the best you can be, the rest will come.
Life is what you make of it. It’s not about oppression. It’s not about discrimination. And it’s certainly not about gender. It’s time to forget feminism altogether, let sleeping dogs lie and seize the opportunities that lie in front of us. If he doesn’t hold the door open for you, it’s just because he’s a prick, that’s all. And you’re a prick too if you don’t hold it open for him. That’s gender equality.