An interesting discussion had started once again in the common room at school, due to the extra reading we were given for language. We were asked to annotate the work of Alice Neikirk, who we found out thanks to the Internet is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, having studied anthropology. The paper, which seems to be the only one by her online, is on fairy tales and the general depiction of women and how society expects the female members of society to be. Although at first I agree with the prospect – as someone who wants equality for all people, forgetting just gender and including age, creed, and everything else. However, as we read into the text it proved to be radical and so apparently ‘anti-sexist’ it became, ironically, sexist towards men. This is a perfect exemplification of what I call pseudo-feminism – this pretend Feminism – that I have heard others even go as far as to call “Feminazism” reflecting the tyrannical, purist attitude of the Nazis. There is also this level of indignation that, if you do not agree with not only the cause but the little extras everyone adds to make their own brand of feminism, then you’re a raging, chauvinist, sexist pig. It’s a bit of a joke. In the media, the bad apples spoil the bunch. This pseudo-Feminism, or Feminazism, has manifested itself well amongst many social media sites, most notoriously the likes of tumblr. It is evidently a product of social engineering – people jumping behind causes with a false pretense and doing many things in the name of them, but actually going against the sole cause. For example, this ‘feminism’ goes against Feminism because the idea of Feminism, forgive me if I’m wrong, is that women are to be equal to men – which sounds more like what we’d call humanism or humanitarianism nowadays. I have seen this all over Facebook also, and it’s like a giant game of Chinese Whispers (oh not allowed to say that… judging by this level of political correctness) where people re-post anything that is seemingly stripped of fact and instead has radical, perhaps untrue statistic or opinion. Most often, these things are posted by people who don’t even know the definition of repression. Have you spent a day in the middle east with a lady? Thought not. Some people are complaining about repression in the West but I really don’t think they have a grasp of the gravity the term ‘repression’ comes with. Do you know how harsh Sharia law is? Any sort of repression counts as repression, yes, I’m not suggesting that it is a case of “my repression is worse than yours” but I think people need to, indeed, understand the gravity of what is being said. Male critics may appear unfit to make a comment on something like that, according to some people, but I really think that we in the West cannot talk about repression in some areas that people here are, when people in the East have it a lot worse. If people in the West are oppressed, I don’t think it is to do with gender and more so to do with social status in general – for instance being working class. I’ve seen a lot of statistic twisting about jobs and payment. Though, there is truth in a lot of things about women being charged more when it comes to insurance, but then younger people are too – which makes it ageist and therefore is a problem of much wider scope that just gender equality – it’s more about corruption and prejudice in general.
In between that last paragraph and now, I had an English Language lesson and the text we were annotating wasn’t even supposed to be in for then. However, we did carry on looking at gender in texts and looked back upon a text we had recently written a response to. I was asked to write another paragraph on gender and how it’s represented in the text. Allow me to give you some context. So this one text is an extract from a maths book that appears to be targeted primarily at 8 to 10 year olds. It employs a cartoonistic aesthetic that a child of that age would know well and most likely love. One caricature is of a girl frowning at a book as she imagines a rather goofy looking boy with flies circling his head. This is clearly a joke that refers to the “boy versus girl” attitude a lot of young children have – which is challenged by a lot of people, saying it’s due to views being imposed on young, impressionable minds. I think this is true but I think that whatever you present to a child, you are imposing something on them. By their nature, children imitate what they know so how do you show them something without leaving a lasting idea – thought – ideology? That becomes another thing entirely. The succeeding diagrams are quite funny as well, with a group of scruffy boys standing around, again with flies circling with them. One of them has spotted that a girl they all know, Veronica, is at the bus stop – fixing her hair to make it looks pretty. One of them goes “Go on, I dare you to sneak up and kiss her.” which clearly refers to the childish love-oriented “kiss-and-tell” humour children have when talking about boys and girls too at such a young age. To someone older and more aware, it stinks of sexism and a lot of people would say “That’s not the sort of thing you should be teaching a child” but the thing is, it isn’t. It’s making them aware that it happens – it’s mocking it, making a joke of it. To me, the inclusion of such a thing is to make it more entertaining and applicable of a child. “Well it’s not something to joke about?” Isn’t it, if it belittles the notions of what is going on in the photos, why is that such a bad thing – if you’re against it all. I feel as if some people do indeed jump behind these ideologies for their own good – for example, like donating to charity to improve your own image and don’t necessarily support the cause or do anything for it. People jump on the bandwagon of self-righteousness and rely on their news feed to feed them cherry-picked bits of ‘knowledge’ to support their often baseless ‘facts.’ This is not Feminism like the Suffragettes and Suffragists practiced. It is wrong to even compare, I think. This does not just apply to Feminism, this applies to all causes that are bastardised on social media. For example, people saying that they are environmentalist vegans posting propaganda from their iPhone. That’s another story.
Also, people do not accept the responsibility for their beliefs, too. I personally think people can do what they want, as long as they take the responsibility of their actions: If they’re gay, that’s their business and I support it no more or no less than I do someone saying they’re straight. It is their business, not mine. I don’t want it forced down my throat, the same goes for all. I will respect you for who you are and what you do: that’s tolerance. What I cannot stand, is if someone feels as if they have been wronged when someone challenges their belief. Like when “Feminists” have gone as far as to dress their children in clothes typically designed for the other gender. My opinion of that is: It’s wrong if it’s against the child’s will, clearly. If the child did want to, then it’s great that the parent has pursued this. What I think is absolutely ridiculous though, is that people will complain if their child is bullied for it. I’m not saying “conform to the bullies” as I’ve been bullied myself and have overcome it: For my different interests and personality. I just carried on being the way I was: I didn’t complain and expect others to change for me. So why do people expect other people to change? I’m an idealist but even I know that is ridiculous, insane even. So why would you act surprised that your child may be bullied for it? It’s tragic that they may be, but it’s not an indignation. You have to show them you are stronger than it and carry on as normal anyway. It’s like “If you don’t want your child to be bullied, don’t call him Tristyn.” Similarly, those that kick the hornets’ nest need not complain about being stung.