Feminism is Dead.

6 Mar

Feminism is dead. And if not, in its current form, I really think it should be.

Let me give you a little context. If I had been born in the days where women weren’t entitled to the vote I would have been the first to complain. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in women’s rights in their entirety, and am first in line to show how much I am the equivalent to my male counterparts across the board. Underestimate me because I am female and the joke will be on you because I am competent, diligent and able, yet this has nothing to do with which chromosomes my body is made up of. It’s to do with me.

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I wholeheartedly believe that feminism, although coming from a well meant place, is dead. Its something that I believe there is no need for anymore, and in my day to day life, I find that the girls that are campaigning for this stuffy idea are actually skewing the balance for the rest of us. What we should be fighting for is equality. The chance to be recognised for what we bring to the table, not for what we bring to the table as women.

This train of thought comes from a meeting I had this week. It was a brilliant idea; to promote National Women’s Day in a workplace that has a strong male workforce. Fantastic – we need to be ensuring that young and influential women starting their career recognise that being a woman isn’t going to hold you back. The idea came from a really good place; it just didn’t stay that way for very long.

The ideas bouncing around started to grate. I ignored them, for the sake of trying to not come across really opinionated, but then I had to say my piece. Someone suggested that to promote the event, we should get the women and the men to switch. So getting the guys to do a bake sale, and giving the girls an afternoon to go rock climbing, for example.

It hit me that in trying to promote a fantastic day, we were actually polarising the problem. By suggesting that we do this, we were reinforcing the negative (and downright wrong) opinion that as opposite sexes, our skills and abilities were always going to be totally different, and completely stereotypical.

OK, I don’t come from a place of out and out feminism. I actually like it when I have had a hard day at work and a man on the Tube offers me his seat. I like it when, every now and then, my boyfriend offers to pay for dinner. I see it as chivalry for these things to happen, rather than being completely affronted that they would even dare to suggest it. And I know that the term feminism covers a broad spectrum, but organising girls clubs and events is the wrong way to go about addressing the issue of equality. In the United States even as recently as a couple of years ago, women were, on average (and its wildly different between states) still getting paid 11% less than men in direct comparison roles.

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A conversation with my Uncle while I was away highlighted the issue with businesses employing women “of that age” which in reference to this conversation was 28 – 35. Marriage and kid’s age, in case you were wondering. A women, “at that age” (my age) is less employable than her male counterpart from a business point of view, as she is more likely to get married, have children, and take maternity leave, which in turn costs a business money.

Sure, this is the case, and empowering women is the way forward, but rather than putting us as women in a box, why don’t we try to highlight our individual differences?

We shouldn’t be celebrating our successes because we are women.

We should simply be celebrating our successes. Isn’t that what equality is?

What are your thoughts?

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12 Responses to “Feminism is Dead.”

  1. inconsistentlyyours March 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    I think is absolutely true and so well written. I’ve always leaned on the side of anti-feminism. Not that it isn’t great, go ahead get your worth, but like you said it’s becoming more and more about women needing to be held higher for their differences rather than the fact we should all be equal. Thanks for the writing!

  2. prenin March 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    Since I regard everyone as my equal I don’t have a problem with this, but – and this is a pain – I often do the gentlemanly thing and get fried for it about once in ten events.

    Sometimes you can’t do right for doing wrong! :(

    Just don’t get me started on the Politically Correct brigade who see all men as sexist, racist pigs… :(

    Love and squishy hugs! :)

    Prenin.

  3. digifiend March 7, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    This is the kind of topic that can get men into a lot of trouble. That’s never stopped me before, not going to now either :)

    Intelligent organizations and companies (and life partners for that matter) recognize that diversity is strength. Having people with different genders. religion, sexual practices, and ethnicity can only strengthen orgs by providing different viewpoints and perspectives. Actively (or innocently) paying people more or less depending on anything other than merit and organizational worth shows an inherent organizational weakness. Larger income divides indicate greater weakness.

    Refusing to work at places that wont pay people fairly, or that insist on not hiring anything but the flavor of the month (often white males) and being vocal about it doesn’t make one a feminist, civil rights activist, LGBT proponent, or any other label of choice. It does deprive the offending organization of diversity, talent, and creativity which can and does ultimately lead to their failure.

    In my mind, there is abosolutely nothing wrong with discussing ideas and strategies with like minded individuals. Having said that, I don’t believe that being dependent on organizations or movements which proport to represent the interests of broad swaths of populations for change is healthy as those organziations or movement can’t and dont embrace the diversity of it’s membership.

    Diversity is strength.

  4. susielindau March 7, 2014 at 4:23 am #

    I think that each human being is deserving of respect no matter what. Harrumph! (I can’t believe that’s a real word!!!)

  5. Nuala Nyland March 7, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Don’t be fooled by the name, feminism IS fighting for equality. The basic definition of the word is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. I do see where you’re coming from in regards to the whole polarising the problem thing. However most modern feminists believe that gender is fluid rather than there being two separate genders defined by sex. Assigning different activities to men and women is actually what we are fighting against.
    Many would also agree that chivalry is a brilliant thing, but why should it only belong to (and be expected of) one gender? I personally would be fine with letting my boyfriend pay for my meal, as long as I knew he also felt comfortable letting me return the favour. I think that many feminists would agree with you that successes should not be put on a gender pedestal, but often this is to do with the fact that extra barriers may have been overcome due to being female. And feminism is trying to break down those barriers.

  6. joeyfullystated March 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    I have never, and probably will never, understand being offended by good manners. In my head, I shame those women who will verbally accost a man for giving up his seat, or holding a door, etc. Shame on them!
    I’m in favor of equal rights, equal pay, but I’m a woman, and I expect to be treated differently than one would treat a “buddy.” Online, I always get slammed for this, by some woman who has her knickers in a twist about she can carry her own bags and she doesn’t owe a man anything. I don’t find I owe a man anything but a “Thank you,” in reply, and no one else should, either.
    I’ve yet to encounter a man yelling at me when I hold the door for him…
    I think instead of concentrating on gender, we should attempt to accept that all people have value, and the job in question, along with the candidate’s qualifications — that should determine pay, not the sex of the person taking it.
    I think feminism is a lot like religion, it’s great, until someone takes it so far that there’s a war.

  7. Twindaddy March 7, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    I’m with you. Equality for all should be the overall goal of every being.

  8. Jess Witkins March 7, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    I admit I read your post while trying not to grimace a lot. I hear your point and respect you for it, but I CANNOT wish feminism to be dead. You pointed out one of the problems with equal pay, which we still do not have. Especially the higher up the ladder you go, less women hold positions of power than men when it comes to CEOs and such in the corporate world. I also see healthcare as a place where feminism is needed. Men would never ever have to worry about a law regulating what happens to their penis. Yet, reproductive rights for women are becoming increasingly more strict, at least in the States. A man can get viagra covered under his insurance, but now some employers are filing lawsuits to ensure they WOULDN’T have to cover contraception for their female employees. That is scary. The concern is that for every few steps forward we make, several big steps counteract that.

    I think you pointed out yourself that as society we’re still perpetuating the social stigmas of gender as well. When I was in college, a group of men started up an organization called Men United Against Sexual Assault – great cause right? And they helped to raise money for a local women’s shelter, which is commendable! BUT, they did so by holding a live auction of males to be bid on for dates and such and selling a calendar in which they posed in sexual positions. Um…problem there? How are we doing the victims of human trafficking or sexual assault any favors if that’s the way we go about raising money to help them? Extremely mixed messages there.

    I am a feminist. I don’t think feminism is dead. And I don’t want it to be. Thank you for being a woman who uses her talents and skills to advance in the workplace. That’s great! But equal pay is not the only issue at hand. Feminism protects not just women, but men too. It speaks up for families, and it speaks up for those that may not yet be comfortable sharing their voice.

    I’ll respectfully step off my soapbox now. I really mean it when I say thank you for being a strong advocate for women at work. I just think there’s sooo much more that feminism impacts.

    • tinkerbelle86 March 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      HI Jess, thanks for your comments, and I love the debate this has sparked. I don’t reserve my thoughts for just the workplace, but this is where the point came up. I agree with a lot of what you have said here, but |I feel that we need to move to equality rather than this need for them against us. By differentiating I feel that we will never move to equality, which surely is the next iteration of feminism?

  9. Hazel Tinker March 8, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    well written and very well expressed

  10. Paul March 13, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    Interesting discussion. This is my first visit to your site Tinkerbelle. You are making people think – lots of solid comments on your post. The topic is certainly one with a multitude of perspectives. Personally, I think the main issue lies between the ears of each individual – perspective. With formal training in science and business, experience in business and a mother who is an ardent feminist – I have a few thoughts on the topic. The wage equity issue should have legislation to address the inequality, and yet, be aware that in a market driven economy, women will likely continue to be paid less for the same work – and righthfully so. Take a minute, come back down from the ceiling, and note the key phrase “market driven”. By virtue of nature, women carry the young of the human species and hence will (as a group) always need more time off -on average – then men. The market will financially discount investments with lower returns over the investment life (i.e.working years). For instance, I was the safety director responsible for hiring drivers for a tanker company. It cost us $20,000 CDN to aquire a new driver in both training and lost productivity costs. If a driver had to be off – they had to be replaced as we had contracts to fulfill. Hiring women meant more replacement costs for pregnancy, child care and – the new big one- elderly care. To be competitive, it was not reasonable to hire women. Or, if hiring women was unavoidable, discount their wages. Believe or or not, I do not like this and frequently tried to hire women – the obvious issue being that every employee has a mother (including the boss/owner) and that social cost needs to be borne by business if they want employees – it is an intrinsic cost to building a business. And it is not seen that way by business or government. It should be.

    In terms of diversity increasing competetiveness, that seldom works in reality and the reason is that the like-minded work more efficiently together than the diverse. There is one exception to this and that is diversity under the tutelage of transformational leaders – a leader who can pull all the various perspectives together and create a learning culture of respect, safety and value. That is rare.

    Tinkerbelle, I find your closing sentence interesting:”We should simply be celebrating our successes.” My question is who is “we” and whose is “our”? If the answer is “women” – then you are celebrating women, if the answer is “humans”, then your are celebrating humanity – or is the answer “business people” or is it “first world nations”? I like Twindaddy’s answer; “Equality for all should be the overall goal of every being.” Too true and very difficult. It is easy to confuse equality with sameness and any differentiation is subjective. Sometimes you get hell for holding the door and sometimes you get hell for not holding the door. Respect is more important than rules – but rules are necessary.

    • tinkerbelle86 March 13, 2014 at 11:58 am #

      I love this response and the time you have taken to craft it. its interesting, and I think I removed it from the post as it felt like it was going off on a tangent, but I had a chat with my Uncle on the same subject. He runs businesses across the world and was remarking on a comment made by a visitor of his. She said she was taking maternity leave, would go back for 3 months and then quit so she didnt lose her benefits. He remarked that attitudes like this were further polarising the landscape, and making it harder to employ women of a certain age.
      Thanks for your comments, my mind is by no means made up, and after all, every opinion will differ. TwinDaddy always comes up with great insight too! L

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