I am frustrated with what I like to call “social media feminism.” These women, who have heavy online presence, claim to be feminists but are only on the attack. They constantly re-post on Facebook and leave comments on any websites celebrities or how outdated something is. But they usually fail to take any meaningful action in promoting gender equality. Look ladies, its time to stop talking about doing a shirtless protest and how boobs are the same as a mans chest, and actually put that energy it takes it like, comment, and share a post about how “Miley Cyrus is empowering women” into creating a sisterhood.
While scrolling through articles on Thought Catalog, I noticed a ridiculous amount of pieces on feminism and a plethora of commenters ready to point out misogyny, sexism and slut-shaming in articles with any romantic undertone written by a man. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. But feminists should be focusing on the real issues: equal pay/enforced rights, sisterhood and women’s empowerment. Ultimately, these “social media feminists” worsen the understanding of what feminism is for both men and women by being combative, fighting over minor issues.
One area that confuses me is how often the phrase “slut shaming” is thrown around online. I read a Thought Catalog article about what kind of woman a man wants to date and it mentioned “a girl who doesn’t open her legs for everyone.” I don’t think this is ridiculous standard. Both men and women typically don’t want a partner who’s had sexual relationships with “everyone and their mama.”
When I got to the comments, I stumbled across self-proclaimed feminists that ignored all of the author’s other points — many of which were valid — and labeled the article sexist, outdated and slut-shaming. Even though it included “a woman who respects herself … is independent … speaks her mind … and caring.”
I was really confused. Yes, I realize there are double standards for men and women, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed. But attacking every Disney Movie and opinion piece is not the way to go about these things. I don’t want this subculture of feminist to be the boy who cried wolf. No one will listen if they are always attacking petty things online.
I’m a modern woman who does as I please. But I choose to sexually limit my self in some areas. It’s ridiculous to call everything that encourages girls and guys to have less sexual partners slut shaming. What’s most important is sex education in schools, so those who need access to protection can have it. That’s what I want to see social media feminists broadcasting all over the Internet. It isn’t slut-shaming for a man to say he wants to be with a girl who hasn’t slept with a lot of men. Although I don’t agree with certain people, they have a right to their opinion.
It doesn’t help create a sisterhood if someone calls a woman who wants to save sex for marriage outdated or a product of a sexist society. How sexually free or not free to be is a reflection of that woman’s beliefs. And individual’s beliefs should be respected. It seems like social media feminists are on the attack for every little thing and not applying their energy to fixing actual issues. If they see something as a problem, why not organize meetings and try to educate other people?
There are also women who want to do demonstrations shirtless in order to point out the “unfairness” of laws that prohibit women from walking around shirtless. There are groups of women, who are not in transition, who believe walking around without a shirt is a big enough issue within the female community to protest. As much as some women like to debate, men and women are biologically different. Yes in most all circumstances a woman can do whatever a man can, but physically the two are different. Men don’t have mammary glands up there, to put it simply.
How is walking around shirtless helping women advance in the workforce and gain actual equality? If anything, it is counterproductive. I’m frustrated because there are so many women who are arguing for things and against things that have little to do with improving the livelihoods of women all over the world. I’m tired of people on tumblr, Facebook, and the Internet in general commenting about feminism but not actually doing anything.
Women need to empower each other. They need to create jobs and businesses that hire women, start going through the legal system, create mentoring programs and teach little girls that they can do anything they want to do with their life.
I suppose you could call me a difference feminist. But I don’t need a label because of the way I was raised; I always saw myself as equal. This is not a scholarly article or research study. I just hope that this can serve as a call to action for all the social media feminists to focus on forming a sisterhood with women from all different walks of life: religious women, the LGBTQI community, older, younger women. I want equality more than anything. But it won’t come by making men the enemy and fighting for trivial things.