Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” A good thing, right? In theory, yes.
But these days I feel that feminism’s underlying message has been forgotten and replaced with some seriously troubling ideas. Although I agree with the principle of gender equality, here are some aspects of modern feminism I feel need serious reconsideration:
1. Obesity glorification.
Hypothetical situation. An obese man is hanging out with a group of friends.
“I’m really fat,” he reflects. “I need to lose weight.”
Would his friends tell him that he’s perfect the way he is?
Would they tell him that real men have curves?
Would they tell him that men are beautiful in all shapes and sizes?
No, they wouldn’t. They would tell him to eat less and move more. So why is there a double standard for fat women?
The idea that obesity is not only acceptable but attractive and praiseworthy is not only untrue, it’s extremely dangerous given the health risks. Women should instead be taught to live healthfully with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
2. Promiscuity & hypocrisy.
While some women genuinely enjoy casual sex and can completely separate it from emotions, I’ve seen it happen plenty of times where a girl has liked a guy, slept with him, ended up in a FWB-type situation when they wanted more, and wound up dragged through a lot of unnecessary pain and heartbreak. These girls could have benefitted from a more “slut-shamey” upbringing and adopting the idea of saving sex for a committed relationship. Yet girls are taught by feminism that sleeping around is somehow “empowering,” which I don’t get because sex is so easy to come by as a woman.
The anti-slut-shaming brigade is also extremely hypocritical. While they scream injustice when promiscuity is criticized, they are quick to attack someone who is a virgin or even just someone who doesn’t want to sleep around. They are particularly critical of male virgins, despite claiming to stand for gender equality. If you should be able to have sex without judgment, why can’t you abstain from sex without judgment?
3. The SlutWalk.
The SlutWalk began when a Toronto police officer stated that “women should avoid dressing like sluts” to avoid getting raped. That was a ridiculous statement to make, but the reaction has been even more ridiculous.
To protest, women organised “SlutWalks” where they walk the streets in their underwear and various other “slutty” clothes, holding signs ranging from “Stop Rape” to “It’s my hot body I do what I want.” The message is unclear: Are they protesting for the right not to be called a slut or the right not to be raped? Objection to the low conviction rates for rape cases, the stigma preventing rape victims from coming forward, and myths such as “men can’t get raped” are worryingly absent. And there is a disturbing mentality that underpins the movement: that being called a slut is on par with being raped.
4. Demonization of school dress codes.
I work in a job with a casual dress code. There are some things I would wear to the beach or perhaps on a Friday night that I would instinctively not wear to work, e.g., shorts, crop tops, or anything low cut. So why can’t students do the same? School is for learning, not attention-whoring. It’s not “slut-shaming” to have a dress code; it’s professionalism.
5. Ignorance of serious issues.
Did you know that 39 million women and girls are “missing” in India due to infanticide and sex-selective abortions because sons are more valued than daughters? Did you know that only 1 in 10 women in Niger can read? Did you know that women in Saudi Arabia can’t vote or drive? Me, neither, until I started researching for this piece. The only women’s issues I hear about are how it’s wrong not to find fat women attractive. If modern feminism was a newspaper, there would be a front-page headline about a girl who blew 40 guys and got called a slut, then a mini-article buried somewhere in the back about a Pakistani girl forced into marriage at age 12.
6. Free tampons.
Yes, tampons are a necessity. But so are food, transportation, housing, and hygiene products. If the government subsidized tampons, they would also have to subsidize every supermarket, restaurant, fast-food chain and pharmacy, as well as provide every family with a free house and car. The incentive to work would be gone and the economy would collapse.
I believe in equality. However, I also believe feminism should focus on genuine gender equality issues worldwide rather than promote unhealthy lifestyle choices and protest against relative non-issues.