Feminism has undergone a major social shift during the last couple of decades. The two original feminist waves in the 19th and 20th centuries helped gain legislative and socially-backed advances in women’s rights. The suffrage movement, in the 1800’s and throughout the 1900’s, helped to liberate the female gender. This is because women had no legal identity, did not have the right to vote and were not allowed to own property. 2nd wave feminism ,which was fuelled by a literary revolution, was a period of theorising and critiquing the so called ‘patriarchy’ and its structures. It was renowned as the movement for workplace rights and recognition in the workplace. After protesting and successful movements, these movements secured equal rights for women with regards to voting power, societal recognition, equal pay in the workplace and a legislative equality for all.
So, what is the problem? Under statutes like the equality act of 2010 and similar legislation in the 70’s there are no rights that are afforded to men that are not afforded to women and vice versa. This latest 3rd wave of feminism has been heading down a radical path and has, in effect, been undermining the social fabric of western civilisation. Feminism, by definition is the advocacy of women’s rights with a specific focus on the equality of the sexes. I agree with this wholeheartedly. But when we examine that the law is our societal standard we can see that under legislation there is equality of opportunity for both sexes. So the goal of traditional feminism has ended in western civilisation until the next time government backed misogyny takes hold.
My problem with the 3rd wave
To me personally 3rd wave feminism, specifically, has become a vindictive man-hating crusade with no clearly defined end goal. The suffragettes campaigned for the vote and government recognition and won, the second wave campaigned for better workplace treatment and equal pay for the same roles and won. With nothing left on the table, I believe that a fringe radical portion of the feminist movement have been perpetuating a false narrative of female oppression in western culture in order to keep their cause alive. What is also dangerous is that it is a belief that is all too often held within their identity. Any critique of feminism becomes a personal attack. I believe a true feminist should examine that, under legislation, they have the rights to do whatever men can do and empower women to chase their goals. It’s important for women to not fall into the trap of a victimhood culture and blame men or society but embrace their relatively new found rights. Instead the message is being sent to women that there is a nameless, faceless patriarchal figure in the shadows making sure you will never get within touching distance of mens capabilities. How are women going to succeed if these nuanced feminists are telling them they won’t ever make it. Helping to perpetuate this message is the government mandation of companies to produce gender wage gap reports. No reputable economist takes the wage gap seriously as it is only a brief uni-dimensional examination of wages. To suggest that women make 77 cents to the man’s dollar for the same work is perpetuated bollocks and also illegal. To put this briefly it doesn’t take into account hours worked, specific roles worked, maternity or paternity leave and what genders work in what fields. We have a big problem in the sense that the government has worsened the situation by making it compulsory to produce this data based on a statistic with no real grounds for backing. The government, in a sense have legitimised a flawed statistic which is problematic. It goes back to the old philosophy of ‘if the government say it, it must be true’ and despite it being trivial, it holds truth. The truth is, its been illegal since the 70’s and reinforced again in 2010 to pay women less than men for the same role. This event has created a dichotomy between the genders over a subject matter that all of us are generally in agreement with.
The radical portion of this feminist movement have been known to put out obscene statements that ‘All men are rapists’, ‘There is a rapist inside every man’ and #EndFathersDay. Repeating this message is severely damaging to the social fabric as it not only affects women’s daily lives through fear mongering but utterly obliterates traditional forms of courtship and building connecti-ons with people. In a society where a compliment or an unwanted hug are deemed sexual assault, men aren’t needed by women at all because of ‘independance’ and a consistent message that men are out to get them ruins our social fabric. It does nothing but polarise the two gender, smashes apart traditional ways of communicating with women for men. In addition to that, it scares women into thinking that all men and a patriarchal society is out to get them, therefore, perpetuating fear and anger towards men and destroys things like chivalry and complicates concepts of basic interaction.
I am in no way blaming souly 3rd wave feminist advocates for the damaging of men but the system but the particular branch of ideology certainly isn’t helping. Men are in a sticky spot in the world at this current time. They are generally at the bottom of the intersectional hierarchy and are the ones told most often to ‘check your privilege’. Mass shooters are predominantly male with addition to a suicide rate that exeeds that of women by between 3 or 4 times. With reference to social scientist, Maslow and his ‘Hierarchy of needs’, one of the most important things that humans need is structure and purpose. When you critique the attitude of men and force them to change, with the backing of government, you subsequently create a generation of aimless men with no real clue of the proper way to conduct themselves in society.
In a sense, we are all feminists. Buy and large, we all want women to feel they have the same chance of success as men do. There are definitely stigma’s on the social level that need to be broken down to achieve complete equality for everyone across the board but I believe that it is important to empower women. I believe we do this via reinforcement of their right to be wherever they please. This is particularly true of workplace and within academia where the disparity amongst men and women are felt the most. It is important to inculcate this message into the new generation of women so they are strong and are realising true and accessible potential.