You’ve Come A Long Way Baby…or so I Thought!

protestshitI’m going to start off by stating that there are assholes in every aspect of life, and no group, no association, and no organization is without them. Who knows why we have them.

Feminism is just as guilty of having assholes as Christians are having the Tea Party and Fox news. I, however, am not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater because of a few bad eggs.

Why do I start this rant? Because a recent hashtag from Tumblr (I don’t even feel like posting it and giving it any more attention, but it’s not hard to find on-line), followed by a radio show on Canada’s public broadcaster and finally by an editorial piece in one of Canada’s national newspapers is talking about feminism. And not the good kind.

It’s the one where feminists have a hate-on for men and are all a bunch of bitches and misogynists, anyway. Meanwhile, this current crop of anti-feminist women think that women have achieved all aspects of equality and that the feminist ship has sailed – it’s time to pack our bags on that said movement and call it a day.

The persons behind the hashtag movement are unknown and while I can’t confirm this little detail, are even rumoured to be men referred to in the anti-feminist world as men’s rights activists (MRA’s). I also suspect the women posting their selfies were never feminists to begin with including the one American woman who spoke against feminism on the aforementioned radio show. According to her twitter handle, she identifies as Christian and pro-life; herself lauding the recent Hobby Lobby ruling requiring employers to cover certain contraceptives like emergency contraception and IUD implants for their female employees.

Do we still need a label? You don’t have to identify yourself as a feminist to be a feminist and you can identify yourself as a feminist and not be a feminist. In fact, you don’t have to identify as anything. The same way, you don’t have to follow any religion, but you can still be religious or follow any particular political party but be political. No one wants to pigeon hole you into anything you don’t want to be. Especially me.

Despite this backlash against feminism and that the movement is coming to an end, recent polls indicate that the majority of Canadian women and men still identify as feminist. An Ipsos on-line poll, conducted in 15 countries and involving an international sample of 12,047 persons between the ages of 16-65 years of age found that 53% of participants identify as feminist, with 55% of Canadians identifying as feminist.

What was more surprising was even though just more than half identify as feminist, 61% of Canadians polled still see inequality between women and men in terms of social, political and/or economic rights. Still more shocking, 15% in Canada (18% in the US) were scared to speak out and advocate the equal rights of women because of what might happen to them and 12% of persons polled in Canada (16% in the US) believe that women are inferior to men. But all is not lost. In the 2012 US Election, 58% of women under 30 identified as feminist (24% strongly identified), and out of that poll, Hispanic and African American women identified more as feminists than white women. From this, I take that there is still some work to be done.

Many ask, why do we even need feminism? Shouldn’t we move on and identify ourselves with something more inclusive, such as Humanists or even egalitarians?

Why do I need to change? It’s like my hygienist offers me a sample tube and says: ‘Here, try this toothpaste. It’s better.’ And I say: ’But I like my current toothpaste. I does a great job and helps with tooth sensitivity.’

To me, feminism is already inclusive in that it asks that women and men be treated equally.