I follow and read a couple of feminist blogs. And lately, I have to say I was starting not to recognize the values I want to fight for in the feminist movements. Even though I think it is good that the movement is not homogeneous, since it brings debate, which brings evolution, I was feeling that most of what was happening in these movements was male shaming and some sort of contest for classification. Articles using “they” as a pronoun for a “non-binary” person, cisgender definition (well maybe that’s just because I’m a chemist and it gets pretty confusing…), stupidity like Matt Taylor‘s shirt outrage or articles like this everyday feminism post are not my cup of tea.
I am a feminist, though. Go, gender equality!
I believe women still need to fight for their rights, whether it is to get equality with men or to prevent rights that our mothers and grandmothers fought for to be nullified (planned parenthood, thinking of you). The latest examples of gamergate, the Tim Hunt comments (and the fact that, strangely, the only people I saw defending him were men, whether among my friends or among well-known scientists -oh wait, maybe that’s because women are still being discriminated against and are underrepresented in STEM fields), or advertisements like last summer’s suitsupply campaign are just the tip of the iceberg, for everyday sexism is often way darker and more subtle. So, we cannot rest on our laurels.
But where to turn to for positive examples of feminism? I was lucky enough today, for during my usual browsing of the wide wild web, I stumbled upon two videos which prompted me to write that article.
The first is a TEDx talk by Erika Lust, about porn. She’s honestly not a great speaker, but she raises interesting points.
I really liked when she said she wanted to get women into porn, but in decision roles, instead of taking them out of porn. Talk about empowering!
Secondly, I stumbled on this interview from Virginie Despentes on Broadly:
Disclaimer: I LOVE Virginie Despente. I discovered her when King Kong Theory went out, I read it, loved it, bought all of her other works, read it, and I’m still digesting it. I don’t know why she’s not more well-known outside of France, but in France she is a legend. And if SHE is optimistic, then I guess we have good reasons to be. I appreciate that she talks about patriarchal societies, and quickly goes over why they are bad not only for women but also for men. Gender stereotypes do not only hurt women, and feminism should address male gender issues too. Because we cannot fix one without the other; they’re interdependent.
Take-home message: we need more sexually positive role models, both male and female. People who know who they are, and show it unapologetically. With respect and understanding for people who are different.