“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
― Gloria Steinem
I am a believer of feminism. I mean, why shouldn’t I be? It values the equality of both sexes. There’s nothing wrong with supporting the fundamental human rights.
Except, as I hear more and more about feminism from western media and icons, it’s portrayed like it’s only fighting for equality in the first world struggles. To say that I was disillusioned is an understatement. Yes, of course, slut shaming, low wages, objectification are all important issues that we need to focus on and be more aware of. What about the lack of literacy in young girls elsewhere, having no rights to vote, arranged marriages, boys getting raped, genital mutilation, or even acid throwing? Aren’t they worthy of attention as well?
Like many things in this culture, feminism required a celebrity factor for it to be well known. In fact, the mainstream public is relatively unaware of the concept of feminism until Emma Watson’s He for She UN speech. When it hits, the ground didn’t break. Instead of becoming more aware of the social disadvantages each gender have around the world, the general public was quick to use it to define and solve the problems they personally face in the world. In fact, some men instantly fought back with the concept of “meminist” and the popular question of “Then why can’t guys hit girls?”. Isn’t that a little selfish?
Beyoncé ended her performance at the 2014 VMAs with the word “feminist” scrawled across the big screen. Her statement and her beliefs and values regarding this subject only seems like it’s surrounding the idea of “girls can wear what they want” after being attacked by the public on her revealing outfits. Is that it?
Recently, the internet flooded with collages of Taylor Swift speaking about the public’s portrayal of her as a slut, to say it bluntly. She talked about how it’s unfair that the boys don’t get hate for writing about girls, but she does for writing about her exes. In addition, she spoke of how it’s important it is for girls to empower each other. Though, I respect Ms. Swift’s opinion and her as a person, judging from her focuses on feminism, it seems like she is only using the pillars of feminism to her advantage and defend herself but not others. Take the infamous “Bad Blood” video for example, Swift personally took every famed female from her “squad” and put them into the video to show girl power. Rather than getting a sense of “girl power” while watching it, it just felt like a way to grab the feminist’s attention and use feminism as a strategy to gain publicity.
In addition, during the spring summer 2015 season, Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of the iconic Chanel fashion house, presented a feminist themed fashion show to the industry’s crowd. Models were sent down the runway during the finale holding signs marked slogans like “make fashion not war”, “be your own stylist”, “tweed is better than tweet”, and “boys should get pregnant, too”. Rather than having a more somber and serious tone, the collection was filled with frivolity and color as seen on the tie-dye inspired watercolor prints. This show not only made feminism seemed like a complete joke, but it was no doubt a marketing strategy for Lagerfeld. The collection comes from a designer who makes a living out of models all with waist sizes not much more than 24″ and somehow makes bags costing over $5000 sound like female empowerment. Is the point of the show really feminism?
I admire each of these aforementioned individuals for even bringing an awareness of feminism to the western culture, but I must admit, these values are not that groundbreaking. In a world where some girls can’t even live comfortably without fears of being shot or raped, dress-codes and slut-shaming are the last things we, the people of first-world countries, should care about.
Does it really matter if Bella Swan from god damn Twilight is a strong female characters for girls to look up to? If this is an actual fight in feminism, perhaps we ARE too privileged and it’s time to aid others as well. Feminism doesn’t just apply to one region, it is a global struggle.
Your voice is heard, but theirs remain silent.
Next time, before you retweet a tweet about getting dress coded and how it doesn’t comply with the idea of feminism, think about the scenarios that you do not experience everyday. The less relatable it is, the better.
Think beyond your worldview. Stop fearing global feminism.
All the love.
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