As I’ve learned more about sexual objectification and the damage of gender roles over the past few years, it has become clear how much it affects society, predominantly women, in different ways. From unequal parental responsibility, rape and domestic violence – and the victim blaming that comes with it to sexual assault and FGM. There has yet to be a day without an example of it in the news. They are huge issues affecting most, if not all women and girls every single day. My social media and contacts are filled with those who claim to feel just as passionately about changing the world for the better by making a stand against these issues but there are a few problems that I have come across over and over again. Tokenism, picking and division.
Tokenism. This is the most frustrating for me. I hear you care about this stuff too. I hear you want violence against women to be addressed and this is great! Lets get together and make a change, stand together and change the world. Great plan only the are those that care and those who want to seem like they do. These issues affect over half the population, where is everyone?! Why when there are petitions, hashtags, sharing, campaigns, protests does nothing happen. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to click share ffs! Where are you? Can we claim to care as long as its not too inconvenient? Is it that you just want to seem like you care for credit but not when it comes to effort? Is there such a thing as neo-liberalism in 4th wave feminism?
Picking. This is when people who act get picked at by those that do not. When I see a new campaign that has similar goal to YES Matters, I tend to contact the organiser offering support. Sharing contacts or on social media, helping in any other ways, going to events or getting involved, ect. I’m a big believer in raising voices together so we’re more likely to be heard. In coming together. Pulling those down who are trying, who have experience in the field that you don’t perhaps, is not good practice. If you believe that something could be done differently, if you have the skills then use your time constructively not destructively, offering to help with it instead of picking on things. We need to keep in mind that we are all products of our own experience, have different skills too. Also that we may not have all the information to base our judgement on. Help instead of becoming a barrier to the development of social justice because putting down those who try, don’t need you disempowering them as well.
Division. That old MRA joke – “don’t worry about the feminists, they’re too busy bitching amongst themselves to get any where”. I have already mentioned that we are all products of our own experiences, all as valid as each others. I have always been a fan of the objective view rather than the subjective otherwise you cannot develop a full and inclusive picture. However we need to make sure this does not turn in to divide and conquer. There are many different views out there on different feminist issues, but generally we all agree on the issues of victim blaming, FGM, violence against women, femicide and lack of action on those issues from those in authority is wrong. Yet we refuse to act together on these issues, we cannot see past our difference of view on one issue to our common goal of another. This only helps one side, and its not women.
Now I am by no means perfect, and I am not an authority on feminism. I am learning as I go, happy to listen and learn and develop my understanding all the time to gain a more accurate picture and hopefully make a better impact. But as a member of the 4th wave of feminism I feel the need to say lets stand together. Lets support each other, empower each other and kick ass together. We need solidarity. That way we have a better chance of making a difference and it will leave less feminists feeling let down like this one does.