ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why the West Still Needs Feminism

Updated on January 28, 2017

In the midst of the Women’s March protests following Donald Trump’s inauguration, both women and men seem to be split on the idea of whether or not women in various places participating in the marches (the United States, Canada, Australia) still have equality to fight for. Below I’ve outlined the areas in which inequality still exists, and where we need improvements.

Rape Culture

In 2016, a story about a swimmer at Stanford made a big splash. He was charged with “assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.” He got a notoriously lenient sentencing - just six months in jail. He was released after only three for “good behaviour” (perhaps it was the lack of unconscious women to penetrate).[1]

You’ll note that I referred to him as "a swimmer at Stanford," a detail that was repeatedly emphasized throughout the trial. In fact, many media outlets focused on his athletic accomplishments and reputation before they got into the fact that he sexually assaulted an unconscious women behind a dumpster. Apparently his status as a male athlete overshadowed his crimes committed against a woman whose only mistake was drinking too much.

This leads into the next problem within our rape culture, which is the suggestion that if a woman gets too drunk, or flirts too much, or wears something revealing, a man cannot be held entirely accountable for his actions. In 2014 a Canadian judge told an alleged rape victim that “pain and sex sometimes go together” and that she could have prevented being raped on top of a sink by “sinking her bottom down into the basin.”[2]

The twisted idea that women are somehow to be blamed for being raped is unfortunately not an uncommon one. Most people are also very familiar with Todd Akin’s comments about rape, saying “if it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” Again, here is a man telling women that if they’ve been raped they must not have tried hard enough to prevent it.

Shouldn’t we be focusing on the fact that men shouldn’t be raping women in the first place instead of trying to find ways to shift some of the blame onto the victims?

Acceptable Vulgarity

A common gripe against women who participated in the Women’s Marches on January 21st is that their speeches and signs were “too vulgar.” Many of the people clutching their pearls over what was said and written are men and women who voted for and/or support Donald Trump.

Here is a small sample of some of Trump’s vulgar comments[3]:

“It doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of a**.”

“You have to treat [women] like sh*t.”

“It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.”

“I moved in on her like a b*tch but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women, I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet, just kiss, I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p*ssy. You can do anything.”

(About an underage girl) “I’m going to be dating her 10 years, can you believe it?”

Apparently all of this is fine to say if you’re a man running for president, but vulgarity is strictly frowned upon if coming from women. It’s also no coincidence that these Trump quotes are in reference to women, and there’s another long list of comments coming from him that judge women strictly based on their appearances rather than their accomplishments.

Complaining about women cursing or using “offensive” terms while electing a man who has said all of the above proves, almost perfectly, why we still need feminism.

Birth Control Symptoms

From 2008-2012, a study found that a birth control shot for men effectively prevented pregnancy in women.[4] However, the study was cut short and the shot was never offered to the public due to “adverse side effects.” Yeesh, that sounds rough. So what were these side effects?

One case of depression

One irregular heartbeat

Site injection pain

Muscle pain

Increased libido

Acne

Just for comparison, here is the list of side effects from the female birth control shot (Depo-Provera)[5]:

Nausea

Weight gain

Headaches

Breast tenderness

Hair loss

Depression

Site injection pain

Stomach cramping

Dizziness

Fatigue

Acne

Joint pain

Hot flashes

Decreased sex drive

Permanent dents in the skin where the shot is administered

(There is also scientific evidence to link all hormonal methods of female birth control with depression.)[6]

Compare the list of side effects, and try to think of a good reason why the list of the men’s side effects were unacceptable, but the list of women’s side effects are okay.

Let’s also not forget that women are expected to eat the cost of taking this birth control, and that many people feel women should be forced to have a child even if she pays for and experiences these side effects but the birth control fails. Society is setting women up to suffer for having sex, while at the same time not taxing Viagra so that men can enjoy it at a lower cost. Make sense to you? It doesn’t to me.

Criticizing Feminists on Appearance

Another unintentional way anti-feminists are convincing the rest of us that feminism is necessary is the array of comments pouring in about how “fat and unattractive” feminists are. Putting the focus on appearance and not what they’re saying (a Donald Trump tactic) is exactly what these women are fighting against.

Here are some examples:

“Dear Ugly, Fat Feminists: Admit it, You HATE That Men Don’t Find you Attractive” (the title of an article written on louderwithcrowder.com)

“Why Are Most Vocal Feminists Also The Ugliest?” (the title of an article written on returnofkings.com)

“Why Are Feminists Fat & Ugly?” (the title of an article posted on infowars.com)

There are also thousands of tweets pouring in after the Women’s March with photos of “ugly” women being used to display that feminism is an expression for those who don’t get attention from men. Again, further encouraging feminists to speak out because the point seems to be lost on these people. A woman’s worth is not connected to her appearance and not everything she does is a result of what men think of her.

These are just a few examples of where women are still treated unfairly or valued less in comparison to men. You may look at this list and think “oh that’s not so bad, stop complaining” but that’s part of why these issues are so dangerous. We do not have the type of inequality that many places do, the kind that you look at and recognize immediately regardless of your political affiliation or preconceived notions about feminism. These are pervasive, subtle, and sometimes hard to spot. But they’re there, and if we continue to accept them without questioning them then they have the potential to spiral into something bigger, something more obvious. I don’t want to wait until it reaches that immediately recognizable kind of sexism. I don’t want things to get worse so that my daughter has to fight harder in the future. I want to cleanse these seemingly small remnants of sexism that live in our society before they grow into something that’s harder to wipe away.


I’ll leave you with some pictures of fat, ugly, undesirable feminists...


Mikel Jollett, singer from Airborne Toxic Event
Mikel Jollett, singer from Airborne Toxic Event | Source
Matt McGorry, actor from Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away With Murder
Matt McGorry, actor from Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away With Murder | Source
John Legend, singer
John Legend, singer
Jon Hamm, actor from Mad Men
Jon Hamm, actor from Mad Men
Mark Ruffalo, actor from The Avengers and Spotlight
Mark Ruffalo, actor from The Avengers and Spotlight

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 4 months ago from England

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts; very well expressed.

    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 8 months ago from New Delhi, India

      In our part of the world where patriarchy and misogyny are so deep rooted I can completely relate to the struggle and a genuine need for equality and to an extent I am glad that we have made progress in that regard as a combined effort and without propaganda. Having said that and please don't tag me as a male chauvinist but I am very much opposed to this so called false premise of 'Feminism' and that's primarily 'cause of their hypocrisy. Lets take this Women March for instance - out of the blue, this sudden rush of anger and such solidarity that too on a global level primarily targeting one particular individual for he is or at least appears to be disrespectful of women. Now there will be 1000s of such men around the globe who are at influential positions but how does that matter. We gotta oppose Trump and we are not at all politically motivated and that's utter bs!! Sharia law, polygamy and many such age old customs across race and religion that more or less strips women of their identity and penalize them never happened to raise any eyebrows nor does flesh trade or sex slavery, child and teen trafficking was reason enough to motivate such huge protests.

      Rape Culture is one pressing issue that you mentioned and rightly so it demands a global outrage not just mere condemnation. Especially in developing and third world countries where law and order fails to protect even basic human rights!

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 8 months ago from Malaga, Spain

      All good points, and I agree that rape is never acceptable, no matter how drunk someone is.

      The problem is that our society has advanced faster than some mens' primeval urges, and titillation by the sexuality expressed in the media and by celebrity women has become standard, to the degree where nudity and what used to be considered soft porn are now part of many female performers stage acts, Miley Cyrus, Madonna etc being prime examples, whereas many men are still in cave man mode (and certainly the Donald has been obviously) and as such, view such flagrant exposures of sexuality as invitational indicators... next they get drunk, stoned or horny and start viewing any woman dressed and acting like those TV role models as possible conquests.

      Is that right, absolutely not, but it is factual that rape arises from sexually immature and/or defective men reverting to cave men mode, and they do not even recognise it as wrong.

      When I was a young man, women were still mysterious creatures that you could only have sexual relations with if you demonstrated an intent to marry them, then the 60's happened and women became available without commitment; the pill rather than just freeing those women from the risk of pregnancy, and allowing them the sexual ability that men had previously entertained, created a whole new era of promiscuity, and women lost their mystery, and men lost their caution.

      Retrospectively I was a sexual predator when I was in my teens and twenties, thoughtlessly abusing any woman who would join in with my desires, that attitude cost me dearly also, in a lost love.

      Maturity stopped those degradation's and allowed me to eventually find a partner for life, and for the last 20 years the concept of being with another woman has been so taboo to me, that it's just unthinkable, and even if I could commit adultery, and 'get away with it' the thought is too horrific to contemplate, because I would know I had broken our sacred trust, even if my wife never found out.

      That's called mature morality, and it only comes when you know that sex is more than a pleasure seeking pastime.

      The fact is that when men and women view sex as inconsequential (as long as its consensual) the value of human life is diminished.

      If we want to diminish rape, we need to instill morality, but I would imagine that this notion is unacceptable in our morally bankrupt world, where people want their cake and eat it.

      Speak out about those celebrity women who flaunt sexuality, then act surprised when men expect to be able to use any woman who projects those same activities in real life.