I have had this argument with a ton of people and they all state the same reasons like “modern feminism is not about equality anymore” and “feminists hate men and I don’t hate men, so, I am not a feminist.” But what do you really know other than some claims you heard off the internet? Have you researched about it before forming the said opinion or are you just hopping in on an edgy bandwagon? It is really essential for you to understand what your opinion on a socially important cause is because that’s what decides where your moral compass lies. What is a human without morality, afterall?
Feminism is not constant. It is evolving just as any other movement evolves. Sure, we need to think about rural women and their plight. But that doesn’t mean, we need to ignore the women in cities, women in jobs and women in power. Because what the latter face in today’s society is subtle. When people fight against racism, they are not fighting against slavery anymore (thankfully), they are fighting against the prevalent effects of racism on their daily life. The subtle harms. Feminism today is about those microaggressions. It is about men or women not realising that they are being sexist because misogyny is ingrained in them. It is about women not being able to finish a sentence without a man interrupting to finish it for her. It is about women having to have separate coaches because men can’t keep it in their pants.
Yes, feminism gives women certain privileges. But they are only needed because there is no equity in the first place. For example, there were few women who were interested in driving trains in Victoria because it is a male dominated profession, but when the Victorian government offered a quota for women to apply for those jobs, more women came in to apply.
When men and women have the same social standing and have the same hurdles to overcome, then, we can talk about men and women travelling in the same coaches. We can, then, talk about women not having reservation quotas for certain jobs. Because decades of oppression cannot suddenly go away with one flick of the wrist.
Why is it necessary for you to call yourself a feminist if you believe women should be treated fairly? Because saying “I won’t call myself a feminist” is essentially saying I am okay with the inequality. When racism is happening around you, you do something about it. You establish that you are anti-racist because just being “not racist” is not enough. It literally saves lives. So, saying I won’t call myself a feminist is saying I refuse to be a part of that movement. It is denying empowerment.
Some argue that feminism is about choice but women choose to be “housewives”, women choose to be fashion designers instead of choosing to be an astronaut or an engineer. While most women feel comfortable choosing jobs that are easier to fit in and are not male dominated, it doesn’t mean that the world doesn’t owe it to them to make things better. The world is responsible and owes women equal opportunities so that when that ONE woman who wants to be president, can actually be president.
About a year ago, someone sent me a video of Jordan Peterson “destroying the feminist narrative”. He argues that male dominance is a myth.
He argues that the society is not male dominated because compared to women, more men are in jail, more men are homeless, more men die in war, more men are victim of violent crime and so on. My argument is really simple. If you have 100 oranges and 50 apples and more oranges than apples rot, it just means you had more oranges in the first place. It doesn’t mean oranges are more prone to rot. Sex ratios at birth are not equal. There are more males than females at birth which means men account slightly more than half the total population.
Plus, according to statistics, men are more prone to commit violent crime than women, so, that naturally leads to them being in prison. This aggression and tendency to commit violence among men is also a result of patriarchy and toxic masculinity. And when I talk about homelessness, I am not talking without evidence. Most women, when they become homeless, are affected by domestic violence by their partner. And many countries do not categorise women as “homeless” if they take refuge after domestic violence.
This technicality plays a role in the differential statistics Peterson argues with. Moreover, most men, who become homeless, come with a history of felony or charged crimes. Since more men commit crimes, more ex convicts are naturally prone to become homeless. And as far as the “more men die in war” argument is concerned, it is a product of patriarchy that jobs in military have historically been male oriented. Hence, fewer women step up to take the job since it is dominated by men. So, Peterson genuinely contradicts his own point. When I was sent this video a year ago, I had this answer somewhere in my mind but I was too scared to argue. Because I didn’t wanna argue with a condescending male who would dismiss my arguments just like Peterson does to this interviewer.
Jordan Peterson is not only sexist but also homophobic, promotes anti-abortion and believes mass shootings happen as a result of frustrated white men who have been victims of oppression. He is surely clever, I would say because he knows how to talk and he knows how to capture his audience but his ideas require critical thinking.
So, for those who look up at Jordan Peterson and think feminism is “shady” and useless, think before you actually speak. Because your words matter in the larger context of things. You may be privileged and you may afford to sit at the comfort of your home and argue that it is unnecessary but your argument eventually affects the generations to come. It affects those who are oppressed by years of patriarchy and suffer the consequences of it every single day.