A feminist is someone who believes in gender equality. That’s it. So within that broad idea, different views on various talking-points reside and every feminist will have his/her own views. Since this is my first post in Feminist Friday, I thought it’d be a good idea to tell you about some of mine. A sort of introduction to me as a feminist.
It’s OK. I understand that some feminists are against pornography because it’s objectification of women and they’re right, it is, but the reason I don’t have a problem with it is that women also objectify men. Maybe not to the same extent because the female sex drive is, generally speaking, lower (and there’s scientific evidence to support that) but I think the objectification of someone you are sexually attracted to is natural. It’s part of having a sex drive. So why isn’t there much porn marketed for women? Two reasons: 1) the female sex drive is seen as less natural/acceptable somehow – it’s either glamourised or treated with suspicion and distaste, whereas the male is just accepted as something that exists; 2) men generally require visual stimulation while women generally don’t – we have less need for it because we can use our imaginations but for many men the imagination alone isn’t enough. (Guys, please correct me if I’m wrong about this.)
Having said all that…
Porn in Newspapers
e.g. page 3 of The Sun is not OK. Pornography has no place in a newspaper. A newspaper is for news. Porn should be something people specifically choose to buy (or stream/download) not something you get with a different purchase. In other words, people should be able to buy and read a newspaper without also having to look at porn. It’s too public an item to contain pornographic content, no-matter how soft-core.
To be honest, I’m not sure where I stand on this one. In a way, it’s just live pornography, but the idea of it disgusts me. A lot of money can be made by a dancer/stripper, so in a sense it’s the exploitation of the sex drive for financial gain but thinking about it I can’t help but see the dancer as more of a victim. I think it’s something that should be a matter of choice for the dancer/stripper. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it myself but I can understand that others might be, so as long as they have the choice not to, it’s OK.
Is not OK but should be legalised. It’s wrong but until there is a way of effectively supporting people who feel there is no other way of supporting themselves, it’s going to happen. Therefore to protect those who prostitute themselves, it should be legal to do so. Perhaps that could be made legal but any other involvement, e.g. forcing someone into that life; taking a cut; paying for sexual services, should be illegal. Then the focus would be on the prostitutes as the victims and the people enabling/forcing them to work in this manner as the perpetrators.
For example, a girl gives a bouncer a blow-job to get into a club or a guy gives a girl a lift home and she offers him a sexual favour in return or a girl/guy asks a girl/guy for a kiss because it’s his/her birthday. This is wrong. Neither should accept/suggest such a thing. Both are equally guilty, unless one pushes the other, but then that’s harassment.
Sexual Harassment and Rape
Obviously wrong. And there’s no such thing as ‘illegitimate rape’. If there’s no consent, it’s rape, no-matter what.
Fear of Rape
Wrong. Women shouldn’t be afraid to walk alone at night, no-one should, but many men wouldn’t be comfortable with it, either. The difference is women tend to fear rape and men tend to fear other violence. Everyone deserves the freedom to walk alone at night without fear but until we wipe out crime, and I’m not convinced that’s possible, that’s not going to happen. The problem I have with it is that women are taught to fear rape, specifically, to see men as monsters and themselves as victims. It’s not good for anyone.
Treating Someone Differently Because of His/Her Gender
Wrong. Even if it’s as simple as buying a girl a drink because she’s a girl or expected a guy to buy you a drink because he’s a guy. We’re all individuals and we deserve to be treated as such.
Wrong. Not all women want to be wives and mothers and not all men are only after sex. Again, we’re all individuals and deserve to be treated as such. We’re all worth more than this.
It depends on whether it’s gender-based. A man holding a door open for a women because he reached the door first and is being polite is absolutely fine. It’s just being courteous. But if he does it because she’s a woman, it’s wrong. Same applies to giving up your seat on the bus/train – if the person you’re giving your seat up for needs the seat more than you, for example, is elderly or injured or pregnant or with small children, it’s being considerate but if you’re giving up your seat for someone because they’re a woman, it’s sexism. Feminism isn’t ruining anything. If you want to be given special treatment because you’re a woman, do you also want to be treated like an irrational, fragile, sexless creature who’s sole purpose in life is to raise a family and look after the home? I didn’t think so.
I think that’s it. If there are any issues you think I’ve left out, let me know and I’ll address them.
So what about you? Where do you stand on these issues?