Is Feminism the New “B” Word?


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I just read an article from the “The Guardian-Blogging Students,” titled “What happened when I started a feminist society at school.” The author is a 17 year old student, Jinan Younis, who attends an all girl’s school, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, located in the United Kingdom. Even though the events took place in the UK, they are still relevant in the United States. Here is a snippet from her article, but please read the whole article here and you will see how her story compares to the experiences many women and girls face in the U.S.:

“A group of men in a car started wolf-whistling and shouting sexual remarks at my friends and me. I asked the men if they thought it was appropriate for them to be abusing a group of 17-year-old girls. The response was furious. The men started swearing at me, called me a bitch and threw a cup coffee over me…After returning from this school trip I started to notice how much the girls at my school suffer because of the pressures associated with our gender… I decided to set up a feminist society at my school… What I hadn’t anticipated on setting up the feminist society was a massive backlash from the boys in my wider peer circle.”

 

Younis went to school administrators after receiving threatening posts on their Face Book page and instead of them siding with the female students, they were told to take down the photos of young women holding signs explaining why they were feminists. Here is an excerpt of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Face Book pages mission statement:

“…To encourage pupils to develop confidence, self-respect and a knowledge and understanding of other cultures and lifestyles, and to foster a growing sense of corporate responsibility both within the school and in the wider community…”

Does the Head Mistress believe calling a female student “bitches and whores” will help them develop confidence? How are they getting their students ready for the workplace? — some of these graduates might find themselves facing sexual harassment, at least one time in their working career. I think academics is exactly the place to discuss this type of problem. I hear too many stories of women feeling powerless against employers who prey on their female staff. If girls took a class in high school on how to handle such a situation, maybe men like Mayor Bob Filner wouldn’t have gotten away with assaulting so many women.

 

I found this comment from James McAlister, who was taking part in a school debate, “Is Feminism Still Relevant?” It was an opinion piece from the ”The Gown”, an independent online student newspaper at Queen’s University, Belfast. The piece is dated February 18,  2013.

 

I refuse to be referred to as a “feminist” simply because, I feel that the modern leaders have strayed much too far from the noble intentions held by Emmeline Pankhurst and her suffragette movement, or indeed Betty Freidan and her work to achieve equal rights. But I’m afraid the feminist movement of today is led by bigoted, angry women who are not advocating equality, but rather gender superiority. I feel that feminists of today are out to say the most outrageous thing, in order to sell books or fill out lecture halls, or land a lecturing job.

 

The response from Róisín Jackman, a female student rebutted McAlister, and claimed having similar problems with harassment that Younis encountered at her school. It appears that a female standing up against unwanted sexist remarks is seen as “bitchy” no matter which country she lives in.

This attitude is played out in the workplace, schools, and the Halls of Congress on a daily basis. Krystal Ball, who ran for a Congressional seat in Virginia,  experienced sexist remarks and comments from pundits, that she had to be an ‘airhead’ because she was too attractive to be taken seriously to hold public office. We are either bitches, whores, or airheads.

Women might not be harassed in public like they once were (cat calls from construction workers used to be the norm in the 60s and 70s) but the name calling seems to have moved on to social media.  The rhetoric has also gotten nastier. Are these men angry they can’t openly harass women and need to lash out somewhere?  The Internet has given misogynists a new forum to spew their hatred toward women (for whatever reason) while sitting in the comfort of their homes and can remain anonymous.  The video below discusses this issue with columnist Laurie Penny, who has received abuse on Twitter for her feminist viewpoints, and lawyer Luke Gittos, who wants the Internet to remain a free speech venue, even if tweeters engage in hate speech.

Meanwhile Face Book changed its policy on posting when it banned gender based hate speech in May of 2013. But it didn’t do it out of  kindness, they faced legal action from activist Soraya Chemaly and the wrath of angry subscribers who contacted Face Book advertisers. There is a I Hate Feminists page on Face Book. Please check it out; it even contains anti-feminist comments from women.

I took an unofficial poll via Craigslist OC, Rants and Raves section and asked readers if they see Feminism as relevant. These are the responses so far…

Wrong, Moonbeam.  “Feminism” is an out-dated 1970′s notion currently embraced only by stout women
with bull dyke haircuts wearing pants suits and sensible brown leather walking shoes.  Of course there’s Mr Hillary Rodman Clinton too.

Feminism Is as important as unions to the average american (americans are being attacked)

As long as old white males use religion and culture to make women slaves to
the so called male supremacy, Feminism is the weapon needed to fight back.
Under so so called “I want my country back” mob, Sick male assholes are trying to legalize rape, make marriage sexual slavery, and put minorities in a permanant second class status.
We need to fight back and the best way is to use the enemies own tactics.

“Women are under attack”

Bullshit, dog breath. Take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself
who in his right mind would want to “attack” you, even with somebody
else’s dick.

As for your hysterical whines about the “war on women”, ask your other liberal
poster boys, Filner, Weiner, and Spitzer how that works.
Oy vay!

There were a few other comments but they were pictures and too vulgar to post.

The male who made this video believes that feminism is a mental illness.

I am a Feminist, but I grew up in the 60s, when Women’s Rights were under assault… wait, Women’s Rights are still under assault…especially in states like Texas, Minnesota and North Carolina… who am I kidding? The difference is – women now hold positions of power, they serve in the Senate and Congress (but only 18%); they are pilots, doctors and run major corporations. Feminists fought the male patriarchy so women today can have these type of jobs. But there seems to be a disconnect between today’s young women and the battles their mothers and grandmothers endured.

There is a new generation of women that do not want to call themselves Feminists. Among those who think being a Feminist is irrelevant are: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Sandra Day O’Conner. Ok maybe, I can see how the first four women think Feminism is no big deal, they are “entertainers” – but Sandra Day O’Conner? She is a Supreme Court Justice! Feminists marching in the streets and fighting in the courts gave her the opportunity to get that position!

 

Maybe this is the problem. Women are under attack because not enough women are paying attention and those who do, think it’s not a Feminist issue. Maybe my generation of mothers didn’t talk about such things to their daughters and sons. Why else would we have a generation of males thinking its ok to play video games that rape and kill women? Why does Mundane Matt (the author of video above) feel the way he does toward women? It seems we have turned the clock back a few decades and are having the same problems we did back in the 60s. What will it take for this generation of women to “wake up” like the high school student, Younis and stand up to misogynistic behavior? Women are under attack and men in power aren’t hiding it anymore. This is not a humanist issue. It’s a female issue and its just going to get worse. You don’t see men’s rights under attack, do you?


About Inge

Cancer survivor. Healthy organic food coach. Public speaker. If you have a story you want told, contact me at iscott.orangejuiceblog@gmail.com/