This is a long read. I’d grab a cup of coffee or something if you want one. It’s opinionated, I make no apologies for that. It has to be said, though, and I felt like it had to be fully explained if it was going to be said at all. This is pretty much an open letter to people buying into feminism and women’s days and all that jazz, encouraging them to think for themselves about the deeper forces underlying the “movement.” Even if you don’t buy into this stuff, I hope you find this article eye-opening. If you’re not over 18, you probably don’t want to be reading this.
For me, the idea of a day for women is ludicrous.
You see, I was raised to know (not to believe, there’s a difference) that there is no difference between what I can do and what a man can do. In fact, I was raised to believe that women were better than men, because we can do everything they can do and we can do a bunch of stuff that they can’t do as well, such as have babies, make food materialize from an empty kitchen in under 30 minutes, and make ourselves look beautiful with hair and make up skills. We have to waste lots of time learning all that stuff to compete with other women, not with men. Most men don’t give a hoot what your eyebrows or body hair situation is, you do it all to feel confident (and that shouldn’t make you feel invalidated).
So why do we need women’s day? I find it utterly patronizing that this day is celebrated in 1st world countries, where (predominantly white) women are tweeting and sharing on Facebook all their “this scientist is female and they’re not a household name (like so many male scientists)” and “someone tried to hire me but at the interview they said my personality was too strong then I said to them ‘you’d never say that to a man’ and they gave me the job” made up bullshit. And it *is* bullshit. People interviewing you are never in a million years going to tell you their prejudice, they will tell you that you were overqualified, or the other candidate was stronger, or some other weasel reason.
I find it utterly patronizing that, due to the proliferation of some “feminists” (and it’s in speech marks because these people don’t have the best interests of women at heart), there is a day where women get an extra pat on the head. As if, there are 364 days of the year where we can’t do anything of note or significant in the world. We’re not invisible the rest of the year, y’know. This is written to women who have been sold out by “feminism.”
Do you know what “International Women’s Day” is doing to your psyche? It’s subconsciously making you feel like you’re not good enough. Like you *need* an extra boost to get anywhere in life, because you have a vagina. That’s what all the current crap being spouted by so-called feminists is doing to women.
As a child growing up in a rural village, I didn’t know that professional football was gendered. I thought it was because women weren’t interested in becoming professional footballers. So I practised, and practised, and one day, in primary school, I told my (female) class teacher that I wanted to play for Manchester United. And she said, “you can’t.” Not to be put off, I asked why.
She explained, “they don’t let women play football in men’s teams, you would have to play in a women’s team.”
Confused, I asked, “but, they don’t say we’re watching men’s football, they just call it football. And I’ve never seen women’s football on TV so it can’t be very popular.”
The teacher seemed a bit out of her depth. “But women can’t play men’s football.” She reiterated.
“But I play football with the boys at playtime.” I persisted. “I want to play for Man United and be on the action replays when I score a goal.”
Eventually the teacher got fed up of this circular conversation which was, in her mind, pointless. I got told to sit down and get on with drawing. I was terrible at drawing. I wanted to be a footballer.
I ended up being an ice skater instead. It’s one of the very few areas of sports where women are given the same attention and accolades as men. The only other one I can think of is tennis. And they both suffer from the problem of gender-segregated competition, but at least it’s more understandable when you see the scores profiles women can achieve in skating vs male scores, and when you consider that men tend to have greater muscle mass.
I don’t mind the fact that it’s gender segregated so much as I mind the fact that football is our national pastime, and the national pastime of many (predominantly second world) countries, and men are given these huge, expensive contracts, but women’s football is nothing. Is it even broadcast on TV? It should be given the same amount of air time, just like with tennis. Spectators don’t sit in the audience at a tennis match and shout at Maria Sharapova to get off the court because it’s a man’s game, do they? So why are the boundaries of football culturally defended so differently, to prevent women’s football from being seen as valid?
It’s twenty years after I had that conversation with my teacher, and the situation has not changed. That sort of gender inequality is perpetuated by International Women’s Day; by the idea that, for one day only, the whole world can look at the achievements of women, then we all sort of disappear at midnight, we turn back to stirring the pumpkin soup and fade away. That’s the message that the existence of International Women’s day is sending out. Who is it sending that message out to? Men? Or everyone?
Let’s look at “rape culture” next, because it’s got a hell of a lot more to do with all this than it first seems. I like to call it, Fear Of ‘Rape Culture’ Culture. By conditioning women from an early age that there are people out there who want to violate them, we are teaching women to fear. And as any dog will tell you, it chases rabbits because the rabbits run away. I am NOT victim blaming here, I am blaming the system in which this is endemic. And it starts with every adult involved in raising a child: the parents and the teachers, the children’s television stars, the authors of (contradictory dependent on age group) children’s books. They are STILL conditioning women to believe that they are weaker, they condition men to know they are stronger. You know what? While women can’t develop enough muscle mass to take on a prize fighter, they can certainly become stronger than the average male. If you really want your daughters to be independent, get them a gym membership and martial arts lessons for Christmas instead of a Taylor Swift album and a pink Nintendo. Not because they’ll remotely ever use it (first rule of any martial art is to avoid conflict if possible), but because they’ll have it, so they’ll have confidence, so they’ll be able to be independent.
Of course, it doesn’t come down to wanting daughters or sisters or women in general to be independent. All this Fear Of ‘Rape Culture’ Culture comes down to a deep seated need to control women through fear. Parents want to protect their children, so they enable this controlling culture by buying into the fears that society gives them. At no point have I ever seen any of this addressed by the so-called feminists. Do you know why? Because while they don’t know it, they’re enabling this continuation of control. Is it any surprise that so many white men are getting on the bandwagon of popular feminism? They are doing it because it perpetuates the myth that women are weaker, that women are oppressed, that women need extra help in every way in order to do the same things as men. And that makes men feel stronger. I don’t think this was the intention of most white men when they jumped on the feminism bandwagon but it is certainly how it has panned out.
I asked a question, about 15 months ago, on Facebook. I asked, “what is feminism?” I got a lot of good answers from my friends, but the best one was “feminism to me means free agency.” Unfortunately, while that’s what it should mean, the whole thing is getting contorted into another tool of oppression. The thing that really annoyed me was that, after a few hours, two white men jumped into the conversation and started trying to dictate what feminism was. They were literally trying to tell women what they should believe about feminism. Instead of challenging that bullshit, the women (more than ten had been in the conversation to this point) went silent. We withdrew. I watched it happen. We didn’t want to start an argument.
Modern feminism, from what I can gather, appears to be white men wearing t-shirts saying “I’m a feminist” and sycophantic white women going “ooh you’re so liberated and modern, I want you to let me take charge in the bedroom and then I’ll feel all liberated and modern too.” It appears to be singers and their fans, who don’t understand that crying rape does not get you out of a contract you don’t want to be in, which has nothing to do with the alleged rapist (source here).
It appears to be a mentality by which there is a witch hunt on men, that all men are assumed to be rapists until proven innocent. A statistic that many people like to quote is that “out of every 100 rapes, only 2 get convicted” source here They conveniently omit that these are “alleged rapes.” They assume all alleged rapes are true unless the woman categorically admits she made it up. When you challenge a propagator of Fear Of ‘Rape Culture’ Culture, they retort with “why would a woman make this up?” Well, my mother made it up that me and my sister had been raped, to make sure she got sole custody of both of us because she never wanted to see my stepdad again. The whole case (thankfully) fell through, the day before it went to court. Of course, that’s two statistics that the Fear Of ‘Rape Culture’ Culture propagators will use to claim that two rapists walked free. Never mind that both “victims” were supposedly assaulted by the same man. Never mind that it never actually happened. Never mind that we both ended up on the child protection register for emotional and physical abuse and neglect from our mother because she was threatening to kill us if we didn’t do what she wanted, and we knew she could do it. Making shit up and throwing allegations around was what she did and society enables that. It’s too easy for someone like her, and there’s lots of women like her in the world. But that’s not a crime against two women, because it’s another woman doing it. And she didn’t get prosecuted because it’s just working class drama. Of course, there was no reason to remove us from her care. Unless the mother categorically doesn’t want them, it’s assumed that children do best with their mother; that’s what society believes (source here and here and here). That’s what we should be afraid of – that we live in a society that lets this happen to children and to their fathers, and that lets this happen to the relationship between father and children.
You want more examples of women who lied about rape? Try here and here and here and here and here and here.
Twenty years ago, it was common to have adverts and sitcoms where two people would wake up in bed next to each other, look at each other, and say “what did we just do???” source here With both parties sharing in the responsibility for what they just did. Nowadays, we are conditioning young women to believe that this is rape. It’s not rape just because you woke up the next day, a week later, a year later, ten years later, and regretted having sex. That’s not rape. I get so angry at this, because as a woman, I am entitled to own my mistakes. I am entitled to do things I regret, to try ridiculous things, and to know that I did them, and to learn from that and move on. That is part of having free agency. By deferring all responsibility for this to the man in any relationship, women are being crippled. We are being prevented from learning from our mistakes, growing, and moving forward. More than that we are being prevented from trying new things that might turn out to be totally awesome. We are being crippled and left in a “everyone’s a rapist” control drama that only exists because we’ve been told it exists. This isn’t real feminism and it’s not going to achieve gender equality, it’s skewing it more in favour of men by making women out to be unstable. We don’t need that now any more than we did in the 19th century, the last time women were conditioned to be hysterical then dismissed from any importance, because they were hysterical.
I recently saw a comment on the story that was resurfacing a few days ago, about Samantha Cameron and Boris Johnson source here – even the writers make it clear that it’s made up. One of the (white male) commenters said, “of course she would (have sex with Boris), she did it because it’s the only agency available to her.” I was outraged. How dare this man, a self-styled activist who goes to all of the protests ever, how dare he dictate to me what my gender is capable of? How dare he tell me that, because I am married, I am now seen as nothing more than property in the eyes of the world, only able to have sex with people because I have no voice of my own? This is everything that is wrong with feminism in it’s popular form at the moment. This isn’t about empowering women, it’s about paying lip service to empowering women whilst simultaneously disempowering them in ways we never thought possible.
I keep hearing a sort of saying, or a sort of meme, floating around and being reiterated in people’s blogs – that as a woman, – every woman – you fear being raped all the time. That you go through life so terrified of men violating your vagina, that it apparently limits you in all that you do source here. This source actually appears to be written by at least one of the originators of all this bollox. Basically, this woman has OCD or something similar causing intrusive repetitive thoughts, and devotes a huge amount of brainspace to crap she shouldn’t be worrying about, because she’s afraid of being judged by strangers if she gets raped in a mini skirt. Then she calls it “rape culture.” It’s not rape culture, it’s a woman’s fear of being judged by strangers, that some other women felt they can relate to, and are now trying to impose that schema on all women everywhere, and in their learned helplessness they are demanding that men fix it. It’s a narcissistic belief that you’re so special that people are scrutinizing everything you do (you’re not). It’s a ludicrous belief that there’s some sort of perfect way to get raped, like there’s the perfect wedding and the “right way” to raise children. It’s Fear Of ‘Rape Culture’ Culture.
I’m not afraid of rape. Being afraid of rape is a luxury that white middle class women in first world countries have. Being afraid of rape is a cultural construct designed to keep women subjugated and afraid. I am certain that, while the fear is clearly real, because so many women claim to feel it, it is still totally unfounded.
As a result we have “feminists” who claim to speak for all of us, demanding separate waiting rooms in train stations. We have “feminists” who claim to speak for all of us, demanding affirmative consent laws (source here) expecting men to ask “may I touch your hand? May I kiss you?” ad nauseam, whilst at the same time insisting that nobody should ever ask anyone if they are single, or if they want sex. The most telling quote came from the last source: “They [female students] ask, am I still a victim [if we were both drunk]? [and I say] Yes!” NO! If you’re not sure if you’re a victim, you’re probably not a victim. Why choose to victimize yourself? This is ludicrous! If everyone in the world was afraid of spiders, we wouldn’t go round the world eradicating flies, to try and eradicate spiders. But we are dictating to men and women that they cannot do things which have been fairly well established as part of human courting rituals for thousands of years, because some women are afraid of having sex and regretting it and have the self-centred audacity to believe that this in any way equates to a genuine rape. In this scenario, we don’t have free agency to feel any negative emotions ever.
It’s not such a bad thing if these self-styled “feminists” want to believe this themselves and cut themselves off from all sexual contact with men and it’s actually not such a bad thing if some men want to buy into this because these are the people who will not successfully reproduce. Species moves on. What concerns me is that they’re spreading this illogical nonsense amongst people who didn’t believe this before, but do now, because they’ve been convinced by someone claiming to be a “feminist.” What will happen to humanity if everyone believed this? If it gets legislated? It’s already started.
It’s a reflection that as women, we are being so conditioned to become narcissistic (to keep us focussed on the immediate drama so we don’t see the bigger picture) that we apparently genuinely believe that we, each of us individually, should think: “I am so special, that my vagina is so much more important and valuable to men than anyone else’s, that random men off the street and friends and family members want to stick their cock in it.” That’s what society wants us to believe.
It’s just not true. It’s something they’re telling you to keep you down. Men do like sex, some men seem to like it a lot more than many women, but that doesn’t mean they’re intending to force you to have it with them. Every time you pressure your boyfriend into having sex with you when he doesn’t feel like it, every woman who has harangued a man into making a baby before he was completely ready, by the way, you are all rapists by this same definition.
The idea that sex is always unwanted by women is a cultural myth left over from the Victorian period (source here). This was the same period of time where Britain thought it was so important that they went out around the world and claimed pieces of land that other white men hadn’t claimed. This was the same period of time where women wore floor length dresses for “modesty.” Seriously, look at the clothing of the late 18th century and compare it to that of the late 19th century. That time period was all about *making* women frail and helpless where they hadn’t been before. Every step we appear to take towards “liberation” seems to take us back a step because we simultaneously lose a freedom we had before. Taking our “you must discourage sex at all times” attitude from the late nineteenth century is as ludicrous as turning up in India and demanding fealty.
This quote is most telling: “While the ideal husband would be one who would approach his bride only at her request and only for the purpose of begetting offspring, such nobility and unselfishness cannot be expected from the average man.” How does that compare to the affirmative consent laws of today? Is this really what women want? To live in a sex-negative society as dictated by our elders? Because it’s pretty clear that most of this crap is originating from women who are either post-menopausal or too young and naive to know there’s nothing to fear from sex. Everyone in the middle, those of us actually having sex, are being marginalized. Here’s another quote: “One heartening factor for which the wife can be grateful is the fact that the husband’s home, school, church, and social environment have been working together all through his life to instill in him a deep sense of guilt in regards to his sexual feelings, so that he comes to the marriage couch apologetically and filled with shame, already half cowed and subdued.”
From the same period, men were trying to tell women the opposite: “All women would be healthier and none the less beautiful if they possessed firm muscles and strong limbs; this scarcely any one could controvert.” (source here).
Being emotionally cold in bed could even be seen as serving the patriarchy, because according to this book from 1861, cold women are more likely to fall pregnant with boys, whilst amorous women are more likely to fall pregnant with girls.
That pretty much says all you need to know about the new affirmative consent laws; they keep women fearing rape, looking for rape, looking for signs of rape. Tony Robbins is fond of saying, “Look around the room right now and I’m going to give you a quick test and I want you to notice everything that’s brown. Every single thing that’s brown. Look behind you. Look around you. Try it right now wherever you are. Okay, close your eyes. And now tell me everything that’s green. And so what happens is I dare say you saw more brown. Now open your eyes and look for green. More green than when you were looking before, because you get what you look for — right?” (source here)
By conditioning women to see rape where there is no rape, we do a great disservice to the victims of real rape, we marginalize their experiences and dismiss them as a commodity. This is not fair on the victims of real rape, who are then expected to carry on with life as if nothing happened. Society is going to become desensitized to this. We are at a crisis point right now, where in five or ten years time, someone will report a rape, and the response to the victim will be, “so what?” Is that really where we want to end up as a society?
What happened to the sexual revolution of the 1960s? Where did all the free love go? Why are some women and men so resentful that other women are having sex that they have to try and force legislation to be passed, to prevent those other women from having sex? Sex should not be legislated. Consent should not be legislated. Laws are what people hide behind when they’re afraid of looking unreasonable.
When I went to Dublin to see a well known rock band, on my own, I didn’t book a hotel, I didn’t really think about what I’d do – I just thought I’d mooch around the airport. I’d never done it before, I’d never been to Dublin before, but I wasn’t concerned. As it got later in the night, I felt quite sleepy. So I left the McDonald’s that was closing for the night and found that every nook and cranny of the airport was already taken. There was nowhere to sit and I was pretty tired. So I just lay down in the middle of the atrium, put my bag under my head, and went to sleep. Was I scared of being raped? Honestly, the thought never even crossed my mind. I just slept. When I got home and told one of my female friends, she was horrified. It irritates me that this is the response to evidence that the world isn’t really as dangerous as people believe.
If you really want to truly move the female gender forwards, how about putting on the big girl panties and solving your own problems. Telling men “no, I’m not interested” or “f**k off” or even learning to defend yourself. It’s all well and good sitting around in learned helplessness demanding that the rest of the world solve your problems, but it’s not really proving to the rest of the world that you are independent and capable of being considered an equal to men. Do men sit around demanding that someone change the law to stop women from getting all the maternity leave? It’s seen as “feminine” to have this learned helplessness that’s so insidious in first world culture that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. And Fear Of ‘Rape Culture’ Culture is feeding into this at high-speed, secretly eroding women’s confidence and taking away our choices.
I find International Women’s Day offensive, I find the modern interpretation of feminism to be patronising, and I think both of them sit precariously on the underlying assumption that I’m not good enough, because I have a vagina, to be considered alongside men. There is no room in feminism and “celebrating women’s achievements” for people like me, who know we’re just as good as anyone else, regardless of gender. There is only room for the second rates, the “also rans” (and how transphobic and feeding into gender binary is this whole thing anyway???) This whole “feminism” as it’s being peddled by the latest bullshit merchants is all about seeking validation for a cultural narrative that’s designed to keep women deactivated. I refuse to buy into that narrative.
And that is why I am a post-feminist. Feminism is not going to move us forward past this point and it comes at the expense of our personal freedom, confidence and independence. We don’t need an extra pat on the head for being female. We don’t need validation from other people of any specific gender. We need to take control of our own destinies and learn to solve our own problems no matter what gender we are.