The internet has provided a great deal of opportunity for people to express their ideas with one another. We have been able to share opinions and critiques at a prestigious rate; this exposes both good and bad ideas for what they are quickly and to a wide audience. Feminism in its current form is something that comes under attack and is rigorously defended in almost equal measure. Whether this is the use of YouTube for spreading messages around the world or the overtly feminist messaging in Hollywood films, it seems that there is now a greater visibility to the message behind feminism than at any time in our history. However, I question whether this is done for good or for ill.
When speaking with a friend, who was highly feminist and loved to tell me that I should be too, there seemed to be something well founded and thought out at play. The dictionary definition of feminism as a movement in search of equality of the sexes was trotted out frequently and the whole idea seemed coherent and ultimately positive. However, within seconds on the internet there is another side of this issue that is shown. It doesn’t take long before shouting matches occur, before a complete lack of interaction with facts is exposed, contradiction, hypocrisy and in some cases a complete misrepresentation of a situation, all seem commonplace.
I wrote all of this off as someone trying to get you on board with their way of thinking, that there was clearly something going on that I didn’t want to be a part of and indeed found quite ridiculous. However, sitting here thinking about this I wonder if there is something else at work here. I can’t help but see the shadowy hand at work through the various media outlets, through the presentation of arguments and the people that we see most often to be representing the movements. There appears to be something smelly afoot that we may have missed. I am talking about the spidery spectre of conspiracy.
Feminism has no doubt been a very important social movement over the last century. There have been great leaps forward in terms of equality and representation, and indeed there is perhaps more that could be done in some areas, but on the whole I don’t think anyone would disagree that things are certainly better now in terms of equality. That being said there have been very real issues that have been raised by the current brand of feminist campaigning. These issues seem to simply exist to belittle the advances made and to try and send the movement backwards completely. These actions seem to be trying to paint the worst possible picture of the feminist movement possible. They seem to be playing into the hands of the YouTube creators that seek to find holes in the logic and campaigning.
There are a number of well-worn phrases that you hear in such critiques which shouldn’t be ignored.
People often point out that the ‘pay gap’ is mostly as a result of hours worked as well as other issues at work that have nothing to do with discrimination. Yet this issue is something fixated on by ‘internet feminists’. Instead there should be a focus on why women are not in certain roles, whether management or just generally certain sectors of industry. Pay gap seems to be a better headline, so we go with that.
Leading on from that comes ‘the right to choose’. The talk of pay inequality inevitably leads to the ‘over representation’ of one sex over another in certain fields, this is seen as discrimination, however the choices people make with regards to what to study play a bigger role. Indeed, the countries with less equality of the sexes often find more equality of the fields people work in, this is because choice is taken away and these are the fields most needed. I have recently seen headlines stating that women should no longer be allowed to choose whether they stay home and have children or go to work, written by a ‘feminist’. This was what started me down this area of thought.
Why would it be that there would be a fixation on women working and not raising children? Surely equality means that women have as much of a right to choose what they, as individuals, do as men do. Yet the idea that someone would be happier with children is seen as a negative. This was one of many contradictions that seemed to come up. There are feminists that are ‘sex-positive’ and some that are ‘sex-negative’ believing that women should be as promiscuous as they like in their sexual activity, or believing that they shouldn’t be. This and the choice issue mentioned before are glaring and seem to argue away from the autonomy of the individual, which is surely paramount in any society, or viewpoint.
I find myself wondering how much of this is orchestrated, how much is there as a set up to the mockery of the feminist movement. We know what an agent provocateur is, we know that they have been used in order to bring discord. We know that they have been used to start violence at peaceful protests in order to allow for the police to come and remove the protestors, why do we assume that they aren’t being used here. I joked about a headline stating that ‘fat is a feminist issue’ saying that this was only the case if you think of feminists as fat, but then I saw a headline that said “Is reducing the speed limit to 20 miles per hour a feminist issue?” The issue with this is obvious, these are issues for all of society, not one movement. If you are trying to equate feminism with all of society then you come off looking as though you are being unintentionally hilarious, and serve to weaken the argument for feminism, but what if that is the point?
What if all of the points we see online that are so easily disregarded with the smallest amount of logic are there for a reason? What if the repeated use of talking points which have been so roundly debunked is being done in order to reduce the efficacy of all arguments? What if instead of the little shepherd boy crying wolf there is another youth hiding in the bushes yelling wolf and blaming it on the shepherd boy? Who gets eaten then? Who do we point our fingers at? This important lesson that we teach our children being used against us, or rather being used to manipulate our thinking, should not be allowed.
Yes, the taking down of ideas is good for clicks, but this is only from the people who already agree with you, these people already know that the ideas make no sense, do not line up logically, or are inherently contradictory. I submit that this is being done on purpose and that you are simply aiding and abetting the sinister work of a shady organisation. Helping those that would enslave us to inch closer and closer to their nefarious goal. Or not, maybe the arguments are actually lazy and non-sensical, who knows? But the conspiracy angle is much more fun.