(Image Source: Buzzfeed )
A post about a campaign against “Mancrimination” popped up on my Facebook newsfeed today, and the title of this post was the first thing that came to my mind. As I opened the Buzzfeed article attached to it and read the original post it referred to, I kept thinking that over and over again. Are these people kidding me? No really, are they?
I hope it’s satire. It kind of seems like it could be satire. The celebrities in the posters aren’t exactly known for their backwards views on women, and the comments go slightly too far. However, I’ve seen these same opinions echoed time and time again, so I’d like to take the time to comment on each and every one of these posters. If this campaign is satire, I’m pretty sure this is the message that it’s trying to send. If it isn’t, then this is the kind of reaction it deserves.
1. “You want gender equality? Take it. I don’t have to hold the door. I don’t have to hold the bags. I don’t have to give up my seat.”
Um, I never asked you to, and I don’t think you should. I think a good chunk of feminists would agree with me here. Yes, you should do those things for pregnant women, seniors with limited mobility, disabled people with limited mobility, and young children, and if anyone, regardless of gender, are struggling with heavy objects or luggage, it is nice and polite to help them. However, I’m able bodied and perfectly capable of opening doors, holding my own bags, and standing if there are no seats on public transport.
2. We don’t discriminate against a pair of boobs. Why do you? Women only buses. Women only trains. Women only queues.”
I have never heard of this in the Western world, and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen it anywhere in Europe or Canada. I certainly don’t support the concept, although I imagine that if it actually exists (and I’m skeptical about that), it’s a (misguided) reaction against the sheer amount of harassment women face in public spaces. The magazine that posted this is based in India, so maybe it’s a thing there.
3. Even product discriminate. Short men don’t have heels. Ugly men don’t have makeup. Stupid men can’t be blonde.
Yay! Gender stereotypes! This one is so obvious it’s actually hard to comment on. First of all, many feminists outright reject heels, makeup, and traditional standard of beauty. Many others don’t outright reject them, but reject the idea of promoting these things as catch-all standards that everyone must adhere to. In fact, there’s a whole book about rejecting standards of beauty in the name of feminism (“The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf). Many other women simply find these things too cumbersome to use them on a regular basis. I am a short woman, and I can tell you that I was perfectly happy to teeter around in heels at 20, but at 30, I’d rather give my feet and back a break.
Also, why can’t men wear heels or makeup? If you want those things so badly, just wear them. Oh right, I forgot…those things are associated with women, and men who wear women’s clothing are weak. That’s not a problem with feminism and discrimination against men; that’s a problem with masculine culture and discrimination against women.
The blonde comment is too stupid for words. It’s this one that really sets off my satire radar.
4. It’s a man’s world. Bullshit. I don’t get free drinks. I don’t get free entry. I don’t get sympathy.
I don’t want free drinks or free entry. Those practices are hangovers from the days when women were expected to under-earn men and when men were expected to be the breadwinners. I am capable of buying my own drinks and paying cover charge. Also, these practices tend to scream of “meat market” environments where men seem to expect that women are just there to meet men. Last time I went out to a bar with free entry and drinks for women, I got harassed by a bunch of dudes who didn’t want to accept “I’m not interested” (in those exact words) as an answer. I’d rather just pay and spend a night dancing with my friends, thanks.
Also, I certainly don’t want your sympathy. I want empowerment.
5. Let’s talk sex. If I want sex, I am desperate. If you want sex, it’s sexually liberated. If we both want sex, it has to be on your terms?
Clearly, the men who came up with this have never been single women. I’ve been a single woman, so I’d like to add some comments to help clear this up. If you are a single woman and ask a guy out or make a move, some people will certainly applaud your sexual liberation. However, large chunks of society will definitely see you as “desperate.” Other large chunks will simply slam you for being a “slut.”
And of the love of the gods, sex does not have to be on the woman’s terms – it has to be on both partner’s terms. That means that if the woman wants to stop or does not want to do a certain thing in bed, that must be respected, but it also means that if the MAN wants to stop or does not want to do a certain thing in bed, that must be respected.
I get that a lot of men are getting frustrated by things like being expected to pay for drinks or hold doors for able bodied women with free hands, but those are exactly reasons why we need feminism. Those practices assume that women are weak and aren’t capable of operating in a gender equal environment. However, misguided anger isn’t going to solve the problem. Whether or not this is satire, these views are all too commonplace, and they’re not always limited to a few MRA nutjobs. Just look at the whole “Women Against Feminism” movement….
And, to the people over at Maggcom….if this campaign is indeed satire intended to point fingers at these concepts, good work. The fact that it’s kind of hard to tell whether it’s real or satire definitely makes great satire. If you’re serious, you have a thing or two to learn about gender discrimination.