Opinions. They’re like cellulite. Most of us have some. Some have more than others. Its no fun talking to those who have none at all. I’m often hesitant to reveal mine – my opinions that is. Today I am going to step outside of my proverbial comfort zone and tackle a subject that provokes passion in even the most polictically unengaged. That is the big F – Feminism.
Before I dive into these murky waters let me clarify a few things. Of course I am a feminist. Last time I looked I had lady bits. I’ve also got two gorgeous, bright, feisty daughters. Naturally I believe that women should be equally represented in the workplace, in public life and in the community. Of course I am opposed to violence against women. I am opposed to violence against men and horses too for that matter.
Caitlin Moran a writer who has smashed the cliches about humourless, man hating, hairy feminists sums up my position perfectly thus;
I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor “anti-men.” I’m just “Thumbs up for the six billion.”
So we’ve established that I count myself as a feminist BUT (you knew a but was coming) I am disappointed by much of the feminist commentary in our main stream media. Frankly there’s alot of fluffy click bait masquerading as feminism out there. I have no problem with fluffy click bait but we’ve got serious issues to discuss right now.
The body image chestnut gets rolled on a basis. This piece by Clementine Ford had me banging my head against my desk.
The article is about a US comedian who based a routine around encouraging women to love and accept their bodies. Clementine slammed him for being condescending. She reasoned that women’s hatred of the bodies runs far deeper than seeking approval from men. That may be true – women are judged and valued for their looks to a far greater extent than men are. However this poor sod was trying to do the right thing. He was taking a stand against society’s increasingly impossible standards of beauty and telling us we are loved and accepted as we are. Surely this is a step in the right direction? One wonders if it is possible for a man to say anything right?
The body image band wagon rolled on with this
Indiana’s entrant in the recent Miss USA pageant caused a social media meltdown because her perfectly proportioned and well toned figure is not skeletal.
I doubt most men would “kick her out” as it were. “Attractive woman in a beauty pageant” makes for an unsurprising headline. I’m wondering why in 2014 we are still having these pageants. Ironically thanks to feminism women have the right to parade around in heels and bikinis if they wish. Nevertheless in the interests of true equality I ask where are the male pageants? ( I’m not talking body building here – that is considered a sport) I would love to see a gaggle of be-speedoed hunks strutting their stuff on stage. I would happily express shock on social media if – for example, Mr Indiana’s biceps were smaller than his head.
Speaking of scantily clad men, today’s Sydney Morning Herald carried this.
In case you were unaware (yeh right) there is an Instagram site called Porn for Women. It features shirtless hunks gazing broodily into the camera – and Alecia Simmonds is complaining about this. Seriously? Apparently the site is neither porny nor ethnically diverse enough. This could be easily remedied by setting up a rival site called “Pornier and ethnically diverse porn for women”.
I pride myself on thorough research and headed to Instragram immediately. I too was disgruntled by what I found. Tom Hiddleston is woefully under represented as are Damien Lewis, Eddie Redmayne, Rupert Grint and Alexander Ludwig**. There is a shameful bias against Rangas on this site. Whilst it featured Tom Hardy a plenty (not a problem) there was NO Colin Firth! How could any self respecting Porn for Women exclude Mr Darcy in that shirt?
To the mainstream media I say – whilst things have improved dramatically for women over the past few decades there’s still a long way to go. I want to see articles dealing with issues like the under representation of women in leadership both in business and government. We need more discussion about work/life balance. More seriously some of the measures in recent Federal Budget will be catastrophic for the most vulnerable women in society – eg cuts to funding of women’s refuges. We need the feminist press to make a big loud noise about this NOW.
Am I looking for wisdom in all the wrong places?
What do you think of the current feminist dialogue?
Who are your favorite commentators?
I welcome your dissent but not if you disagree about Colin Firth.
* Clementine Ford is a fierce campaigner against violence against woman and has copped much flack on social media for daring to have an opinion. Some of it has been threatening and quite vile. On the whole I admire her courage but I dont agree with everything she’s written.
** Google him – YOU wont regret it.