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  • Writer's pictureT. Degiovanni

If You're Not a Feminist, You're a Sexist

Were you triggered by this title? Did you immediately reject my sweeping third-wave ‘feminazi’ statement? Do you think it’s judgemental? Irrational? Aggressive even? Did you roll your eyes and think “This is why I don’t like Feminists” and subconsciously disassociate yourself from the word and therefore the entire movement? Two years ago, I would’ve been the same.

However, between then and now, I have been educated. I have sat in University lectures listening to learned Academics, Doctors and scholars speaking about what Feminism means, what it does and what it entails to look at the world from a feminist perspective – I have seen first- hand the effects of a patriarchal society on my peers, strangers in the news, on myself. And I’m here to tell you, if you aren’t a feminist, you are a sexist. The reason for this is simple. Contrary to the way media has presented, shaped and covered issues of feminism and the feminist movement (*cough* the media that is predominantly made up of white, middle class men…. *cough*) feminism means “the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes” (courtesy of Oxford Dictionary). Yes, you read that right. On the ground of the equality of the sexes. Do not let media slurs and agenda fool you. Feminism is and will always be about the equality of the sexes. And if you don’t believe in that, I am afraid you are, in fact, sexist – “Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex” (Also courtesy of the Oxford Dictionary).

And believe you me, I will continue to fight the good fight against the misrepresentation of feminism in today’s culture and society. Of course there are radical Feminists, who do take part in a ‘man-hating’ agenda. However they are a minority (and sometimes there are blurred lines between feminist and LGBTQ agendas which often do need to be separated for the sake of universal inclusion). Yet this radical minority gain a significant cut of media coverage from the 63% of men who occupy job roles in the creative industry. That includes journalism.

Unfortunately, this kind of coverage gives Feminism a negative, un-inclusive name, alienating almost the entire male population. Problem: as aforementioned, Feminism is about the equality of sexes. We want men on our side! We need men on our side! We want to get rid of sides!! If there is anything you will take out of this article, please let it be the feminist desire to eradicate sides, competition and inequality of the sexes.

I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify something. It is not just the media that permeates this ‘third-wave’, inaccessible feminist agenda, but also works of art that claim powerful feminist messages…. messages which are always personal and not always universal.

For example, take Timea Pall who created artwork with her own period blood. This was a personal exploration for her, into the beauty of the womb and the menstrual system. What people associate it with, however, is a gross, radicalised feminist outcry. What I am suggesting is that feminism can be individual, it can be universal, and it can be multi-dimensional. You can be whatever feminist you want to be, believing in whatever you want to believe in, so long as it is the equality of the sexes. So no, you don’t have to love period blood (although the taboo against this opens up a whole can of worms, so watch this space for a whole piece on the ridiculous prejudice against periods, pfft) to be a feminist.

It is very important for us to let ourselves be educated. Not be stuck in certain ways or mind-sets without challenging them or asking where they actually come from? Would it be so bad to change them? Do my views fit in with my everyday morals? Leave the inflexible mind-sets to our grandparents, great-grandparents and maybe even just parents – they’ve had a different life and different experiences. The world was different then. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. For us, for our kids and for their kids. Because to all the men out there – you would never want your girlfriend, best friend, mother or sister to be mistreated for the sheer fact that they are a woman. And women – you don’t want to ever find yourself, your best friend, your sister or your mother in a situation where you are helpless or disadvantaged due to your gender, and nothing else.

It exists all around us in little ways (gaslighting, patronising male figures, unwanted sexual advances) and also in bigger ways (the gender pay gap, the underrepresentation of women in the workplace, the percentage of rape trials that don’t move forward, rape in general…). Men and women need to look at all the ways in the world where sexism is permeating through the cracks and start re-building the framework around us using strong, feminist, gender-equalising cement that will last.

The other day at work, I said I was a feminist. My colleague then made an innocent, intrigued comment one or two times afterwards saying “Tzeitel’s a feminist!”, as if it were a novelty. In the back of my mind I thought… well, if you’re not feminist, you’re sexist?

Articles of reference:

And these are just a few. Type in ‘percentage of men in the media sector’ and I promise you will be shocked.

#feminism #newwave #media #journalism

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