Sunday, 5 October 2014

You Can't Sit With Us Feminism

I'm late on this, I know, I'm pretty crappy at running this blog and I'm hoping to get better at it but the spark to write has arrived. I need to start typing here when I feel a twitter rant coming on because 140 characters is not enough for someone as hideously angry as me. I wanna start by talking about HeForShe a "solidarity movement, a partnership between women and men" launched by Emma Watson last month at the UN. It's broadly in aim of improving the lives of women but it strongly underlines the male experience also. You can watch the speech here and it is really brilliant and I love it and I love her but I'm not gonna focus too much on the speech or movement itself here. 

I've seen people, identifying feminists or not, criticising the speech, the movement and Emma Watson herself. I've seen people criticising the fact that Emma Watson is a white rich woman (see privilege on google search). YES the "white feminism" thing is largely and indefinitely valid and unfortunately accurate. But can we please stop shooting down allies? Can we stop with the cliquey "you can't sit with us" feminism? because it just doesn't fucking make sense. YES privilege exists, YES it's fucking gross. But it does not go to say that white feminists should stop fighting as loudly and as proudly as anybody else. I understand the irony in arguing that a privileged group should have their views heard. BUTTTT. It's exclusionary attitudes comme ça that put people off feminism and even the word "feminist" itself. People are afraid to say "yes" in case they are told "no". 

Emma Watson is rich and Emma Watson is white and Emma Watson lives in the affluent West. She is using this privilege positively - and for a movement you also care about  - as a public figure with influence. There are many that use their privilege to further exploit and oppress people in order to maintain their higher level of privilege and keep the oppressive structure in tact. There is 0 reason to dismiss anybody discussing equality in a positive, constructive way. Regardless of privilege. Oppression is not a competition. Feminism is not an exclusive club.
(see also Emma Watson acknowledging her privilege within speech 5:53)

Like seriously fucking stop cutting people down for openly identifying as feminists or using their influence to bring feminism into the media. Beyoncé identifies as a feminist. That's it. Stop saying shes "not a feminist" cause she fucking is. She identifies = she is. eg Fiona McCade here. OBVIOUSLY you can pull the "problematic" card. (I prefer to discuss behaviours as problematic rather than people themselves but yeh). She makes mistakes. For example, Jay Z's distasteful Tina Turner/Ike turner reference in her popular song Drunk In Love is highly offensive, problematic and frankly just odd. It's wrong, there's no excusing it and it's not something we should brush under the carpet. But it doesn't stop her being a feminist and it doesn't stop the fact shes using her influence positively. Beyoncé has fans, lots and lots and lots of fans. Worldwide. Whether it's for publicity or to better her image is a separate matter. Someone. with. influence. is. using. it. positively. for. feminism. She references the brilliant wonderful fabulous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichiein in her Ted talk which is completely fucking brilliant by the way Feminism is not an exclusive club. Like, we don't totally wear pink on wednesdays, ya? Like, is exclusion a carb?

There are people using their influence NEGATIVELY. Let's be angry at THEM. Let's publish negativity about people being DESTRUCTIVE to feminism and women's rights. The whole sam pepper thing... like i'm not gonna go into it, we all know he's douchetown: Congratulations on raising awareness of sexual assault by committing sexual assault. On camera. On your popular public forum. Labelled as a "prank". To millions of influenceable and naive minors, amongst others. Gold star, Sam Pepper. Not to mention he tried to turn it around like "see, no one cares when men are sexually assaulted". Honey, we do. People care. No one said it wasn't sexual assault when we "reverse" the "genders". YOU said that. I do agree it isn't a matter discussed as much, contextually, as violence on women. And where sexual violence against men is highlighted, it is a FEMINIST issue. About men - feminist issue. Bizarre huh? No, normal. Common fucking sense. Equality for all (psst, hint, check the "all" part).

Laci Green (who makes awesome body and sex positive videos) talks about it here
Granted, feminism amongst many other issues in the world should not require spoon feeding to men nor their sponsorship to validate it but equally feminism IS about gender equality for all and not just for identifying women. 

Youtuber @marinashutup also clears up some gender myths about feminism and how we can better incoporate men, and (annoyingly has to) explains why feminism "isnt sexist" and also clears up some other myths and common connotations here

The issue largely seems to be in the word "feminism" which is clearly just fucking ridiculous. And feminism should not "be about" men nor should it require their validation. But HeForShe is a POSITIVE movement. "I've seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success." These ARE feminist issues experienced by men. I've seen comments on various social media platforms that Emma Watson's speech is "basic feminism" and "nothing groundbreaking"... people forget that something they are so passionate about and experience day in and day out may be obvious to them but not so much to others, and we need non-intimidating movements like Emma Watson's speech that encourage others to join us. I've also seen comments that HeForShe encourages gender roles and binary genders, again missing the point, again possibly to do with the name and not the ideology itself. "It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of two opposing ideals" < this is not encouraging of binary gender or gender roles. The end.

She does bring up the "daughters, mothers, sisters" shit that Im beyond sick of seeing. It was said in Jameela Jamil's "Porn: What's The Harm?" documentary and in public response to the Ray Rice situation. It's fair, you don't want your mum to suffer, it's valid. I get you, man. But its not necessary and shouldn't be promoted as a normal way to think about women, as pointed out by John Oliver here displayed in gif form on this blog post because, well, why DO we have to do the face swap thing.? it's like you're saying women are only valid as human when in relation to you AS A MAN. Think about it, read about it, stop it. The disgusting Ray Rice is also discussed by youtuber Megan McKay here in a humourous but powerful way which also touches on intersectional feminism. (which is something you should read around if you've never heard of the phrase because that is something very important which may better explain the anger sometimes directed at cisness, maleness and whiteness). 

So ya, I like HeForShe
I don't like nasty clubs.
Don't make feminism a nasty club.
Don't view nasty club members as the whole club.
That's silly.
Most club members are super awesome.
Infinite points to gryffindor and a chocolate frog.


  1. Such a good post, loved Emma Watson's UN speech...don't really know how to feel about the whole Sam Pepper thing though...:P
    Feel free to check out our latest post x

  2. YES THANK YOU this is perfect and you're awesome.