More Feminism, Less Weinstein: An Open Letter
To that guy who made me justify feminism in 2017:
You said that we had equality. You said there was a balance, and a fairness, and that egalitarianism had won in the ‘Western’ world. You mansplained to me how men and women are “clearly” treated the same way. You patronisingly told me that women have no big gender-based issues. You actually said that in modern day Europe and North America, feminism no longer had a place and no role to play. You said that men and women are treated equally. You were so unbelievably wrong.
Do you know how I know this?
The long list of sexual predators in the entertainment and film industries.
The #metoo social media movement.
Statistics online – available here for your perusal.
I also know that feminism still has a role to play through my own experiences as a woman. Do I feel threatened when walking alone at night? Yes. By other women? No. By men? Absolutely. And before you tell me to not walk alone at night, why don’t you tell the men in the bushes to not hide in the bushes. Tell them to not be predators. Tell them that first, before you tell me that I can’t walk around on my own without the possibility of becoming someone’s victim. Whether walking alone at night or during the day, whether in the workplace or at home, whether in the film industry or living down the street, women should not be harassed or assaulted. However, they are. Gender-based violence and harassment remain huge problems, and feminism seeks to fight back against these threats to gain some form of gendered harmony.
Feminism, as defined by Cambridge Dictionary, is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state”. Egalitarianism is defined as “believing that all people are equally important and should have the same rights and opportunities in life”. Since women are people, then both feminism and egalitarianism arguably fight for the same human rights, those of women, and these ‘-isms’ still have meaningful uses since women are still without the same rights and statuses as their male counterparts. Proof of the gendered problems were brought to public attention in 2014 when the EU-wide survey showed that 1 in 10 women are on the receiving end of physical, sexual or psychological abuse from the age of 15. One in 20 have been raped. The haunting and horrifying figures speak for themselves in this Guardian article from 2014.
The many famous women who have come forward with allegations of mistreatment at the hands of men in the media industry, as well as the hundreds of women on your social media accounts who posted #metoo, are the reasons we still need feminism in ‘Western’ society. Until women are not on the receiving end of such abuse in their everyday existence, feminism will be necessary to fight the imbalance and inequality women face due to their gender and physical appearance. Until the leering and the stalking and the hassle that women experience in their daily lives stop, feminism will not be put to rest.
Unacceptable. And I do not accept your claim that feminism is redundant in 2017. You might not experience the unjust behaviour of your male peers towards women, but that does not mean that the less-than-pleasant experiences do not occur. I suggest you open your eyes and ears before shutting down a movement which seeks to provide the balance and equality that every woman deserves.